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New York Times Bestseller
Wall Street Journal Bestseller
From the world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, this is an insight-packed, revelatory look at how the best CEOs do their jobs based on extensive interviews with today’s most successful corporate leaders—including chiefs at Netflix, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and Sony.
Being a CEO at any of the world’s largest companies is among the most challenging roles in business. Billions, and even trillions, are at stake—and the fates of tens of thousands of employees often hang in the balance. Yet, even when “can’t miss” high-achievers win the top job, very few excel. Thirty percent of Fortune 500 CEOs last fewer than three years, and two out of five new CEOs are perceived to be failing within eighteen months.
For those who shoulder the burden of being the one on whom everyone counts, a manual for excellence is sorely needed.
To identify the 21st century’s best CEOs, the authors of CEO Excellence started with a pool of over 2400 public company CEOs. Extensive screening distilled that group into an elite corps, sixty-seven of whom agreed to in-depth, multi-hour interviews. Among those sharing their views: Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Kazuo Hirai (Sony), Ken Chenault (American Express), Mary Barra (GM), and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé).
What came out of those frank, no-holds-barred conversations is a rich array of mindsets and actions that deliver outsized performance. Compelling, practical, and unprecedented in scope, CEO Excellence is a treasure trove of wisdom from today’s most elite business leaders.
"The best CEOs create a game-changing vision for their company," write Dewar, Keller, and Malhotra, all senior partners at management consultancy McKinsey, in their peppy debut. In setting out to identify "CEOs who moved the needle most," the trio looked primarily at executives from the largest public companies with six or more years of experience who delivered returns to shareholders, then "opened the aperture" to include some women and minority CEOs who made an impact, as well. They interviewed each extensively, and surfaced six key responsibilities: "setting the direction, aligning the organization, mobilizing through leaders, engaging the board, connecting with stakeholders, and managing personal effectiveness." The best CEOs, they write, keep their eye on all six. The survey's strength is in its wealth of case studies the authors cover successes and failures at such companies as Best Buy, Intuit, and Netflix, and outline how effective leaders have dealt with boards (adopting a mindset where "my role is to help directors help the business"), connected with stakeholders (understanding their "motivations, hopes, and fears" helps), and lived their "to-be" in addition to their to-do lists. Conversational and thoughtful, this survey will help struggling CEOs get back on track. Agent: Lynn Johnston, Lynn Johnston Literary.