A Question of Succession: How Boards Can Select the Best CEO: Organisational Change Expert Bob Rogers Talks with James Gray about the Dangers of Assuming Current Performance Will Translate into Prowess at the Top

By Gray, James | New Zealand Management, April 2006 | Go to article overview

A Question of Succession: How Boards Can Select the Best CEO: Organisational Change Expert Bob Rogers Talks with James Gray about the Dangers of Assuming Current Performance Will Translate into Prowess at the Top


Gray, James, New Zealand Management


Who gets to be the next chief executive is often a vexed question for boards. One of the more common problems is that they don't have enough objective data to make their promotion or selection systems work. Add to that, the notion that the candidate with an exemplary operational record may not necessarily be the best pick for the job.

Bob Rogers, president of Pittsburgh-based Development Dimensions International (DDI) and an organisational change expert, says the message he carries is one of identifying future leaders and their potential.

"A lot of organisations think potential is directly correlated to current performance, and it isn't. It's very different," says Rogers, who was in New Zealand on a short speaking tour organised by Sheffield.

"They are wrong about two thirds of the time, because there are other factors that determine potential at higher levels [of management] that have to be considered in the equation," Rogers says.

"Probably the biggest mistake we see in organisations in terms of promotions is that they will put a very good operational leader into a strategic role."

That person may have run a division, perhaps manufacturing, and were good at it. "But now we are going to ask you not to be an operational leader. Now we're going to promote you to the executive committee and we want you to be strategic.

"We want you to think three to five years out. We want you to think differently, and sometimes as an operational leader you get too locked into the data and you don't have a high tolerance for ambiguity.

"If you are not a conceptual thinker, if you can't let go of the day-to-day operations and deal with the much broader strategic issues, you are going to be a failure at this strategic job," he says.

Good companies have a way of identifying future potential leaders. "There's been a lot of research about people with potential versus good performers," says Rogers. "It gets in to a number of factors that people have that are very difficult to alter.

"What makes us tick is developed when we are kids, not when we are 35 or 40 years old." Qualities such as authenticity, integrity, learning orientation, ability to think conceptually, strategic thinking and a willingness to step up in a leadership vacuum to take a leadership role are determined in childhood.

"For most of those things, we can't give you them if you don't have them.

"We can give you planning or decision-making skills, or even some of the interpersonal skills or communication skills. We can develop those, but not these other things," he says.

Receptivity to feedback is a key area for senior executives, and Rogers says this is where the difference between a big ego and a strong ego comes in.

"Big ego leaders want to be on the front cover of Fortune, they want to take credit, they want to be centre stage, they want to be famous and when something goes wrong, they turn around and want to know who screwed up," he says.

The strong ego leader has the same degree of drive--the drive to succeed and the drive for results. "But because they understand that we are all human, they are more receptive to feedback.

"They care more about the legacy that they leave behind, building their team, doing what's right for their people. Instead of taking centre stage, they give credit to others."

When DDI wanted to learn how to evaluate potential, it went to American women's gymnastics coach Mary Lee Tracy.

"We asked her how she picks the girls at age six that she wants to spend time working with to try and make them into Olympians. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Question of Succession: How Boards Can Select the Best CEO: Organisational Change Expert Bob Rogers Talks with James Gray about the Dangers of Assuming Current Performance Will Translate into Prowess at the Top
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.