To say that our LinkedIn feeds are full of headlines about CEOs would be an understatement. The “narcissistic ego” gossip culture around Travis Kalanick and Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are dated and also not helpful for moving culture in the right direction.
Generally, it’s also not accurate.
Throughout our thirty years of experience interviewing CEOs, the stories we have heard are not as often about target revenues and personal successes. Rather, their personal motivators for creating a culture of leadership and disruptiveness. The CEOs we interview tend to share stories that help us to uncover their potential for performance on more of a human level.
At Bedford, we know that the key to open communications is to create a safe space for sharing.
We prioritize meaningful conversations and take as much time as necessary to get to know our candidates. We are competitively adept at translating their personal accounts of past experiences into usable insights about culture fit, potential to drive growth and disruption for our clients who retain Bedford to conduct the search.
These are the types of stories we like to hear from a CEO:
Stories About Courage
A CEO needs to possess courage. They need to have been through difficult and stressful situations and to have gained an education in the process. It is how a CEO describes their experiences that will inform about their degree of courage, and suggest how they will perform in future situations.
Stories About Instinct
A CEO needs to possess a level of comfort with being uncomfortable. They may share stories about the current geopolitical scene, about having a pragmatic point of view and a strategy to win. However, if they also share how they use instincts to continually evolve a strategy, then we know they are more likely to succeed in varied conditions due to a willingness to adapt.
Stories About Empathy
A CEO must possess a high level of empathy. If we hear anecdotes about how a candidate prioritizes listening and helping people on their team feel heard, then we know they have a high potential for creating a culture where all team members can share big ideas without fear.
Creating a safe space for open communication is part of our executive recruiting strategy at Bedford. Doing so provides us with the material we need to think critically about a candidate before advocating for them to our clients. We are always looking for indicators of courage, instinct, and empathy because these leadership qualities will always prevail over displays of ego and arrogance.
Thank you for reading this story by Bedford Consulting Group Inc, written with insights from our partner group: Frank Galati, Howard Pezim, Steven Pezim, Darren Raycroft. We are proud to be publishing original stories about our experiences in executive search, talent management, leadership, people and culture, human resources and more. Follow our channelto receive regular updates and business news from Bedford.