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The Future CEO special report 2017

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THE FUTURE CEO RACONTEUR.NET 04 29 / 11 / 2017 Dawn of new era of brand building… BRANDING A chief executive's influence is great, both inside and outside their organisation, but the nature of authority is changing along with how business leaders shape brands T he positioning of a CEO as a person of interest whose in- fluence holds sway beyond the confines of their compa- ny, to shape industry and even soci- ety at large, is an important tool in brand-building. SHARON THIRUCHELVAM For CEOs of the past, the art of in- fluencing was a simpler endeavour, involving the privilege of giving key- note speeches at events, writing the occasional opinion piece, topped off with the publication of a ghost-writ- ten book revealing a personal busi- ness philosophy or illuminating life story, in the Horatio Alger tradition, much beloved in America. Since around 2000, however, just as social media has reshaped social struc - tures, it has reshaped the relationships between CEOs and their consumers, CEOs and their employees, and CEOs and their company's brand. "There is no such thing as a secret and you can no longer remain in the shadows," says Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick. "Customers and ven - dors can see leadership perfectly now and this has impacted leaders taking a greater role." Business, between 2000 and 2017, has been characterised by disrup - tion. Companies everywhere learnt to take cues from Silicon Valley startups, to anticipate change and adapt. During this era of restless, impatient innovation, ideas gained a new currency. They were exhibited and traded through a global circuit of TED talks, tech conferences and festivals of ideas such as South by Southwest or SXSW. Insight and thought leadership became a new commodity, and at the ver y hear t of this climate of disr uption was the notion of the "founder as prophet". Indeed, some of the most notewor thy CEO -inf luencers of the last f if - teen years – Jack Dorsey of T wit- ter, Biz Stone of T witter and later Medium, Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, A rianna Huff ing ton of The Huf f- ing ton Post, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook – in the United States created the ver y platforms that have been so instr umenta l in a l - tering how businesses relate to consumers, and how CEOs present themselves to the world. For the majority of Silicon Valley founders, continuity was anathema. Founder-CEOs amassed followers and customers through the strength of their ability to lead change, rather than be at its mercy. They became celebri - ties on that basis. Elemental to their appeal was the thrilling, powerful and unpredictable ability to disrupt, and with it to dictate, epitomised by the infamous Facebook motto, coined by a college-age Mark Zuckerberg: "Move fast and break things". We are now witnessing the be - ginning of the end of that mania for disinhibition and disr uption. With the election of President Dona ld Tr ump, himself a former CEO and dubbed the "disr upter in chief " by the retired US army genera l David Petraeus, the pub - lic role of the CEO has undergone a shor t, fast maturation. Tr ump's unpredictable character, wheth- er deliberate or par t of a scatter- g un strateg y, and his tendency to persona lise professiona l matters magnif ies the febrile and uncer- tain state of economic, socia l and politica l affairs in A merica. As Re- publican lobbyist Br uce Mehlman says: "Disr uption is hard... It usu- a lly leaves obser vers feeling ex- hausted, uncer tain and ultimately either angr y or ex hilarated." Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is one of many leaders who have been outspoken against US President Donald Trump's immigration policy, saying he wasn't afraid to take a stand RISKS FOR CEOs NOT SPEAKING OUT ON HOTLY DEBATED CURRENT ISSUES PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO AGREED WITH THE FOLLOWING Weber Shandwick 2017 What kind of character is best suited to leading a company? The CEO Genome Project explored just that. The ten-year study examined the career history and behavioural patterns of 17,000 executives in the United States, and concluded that the majority of successful CEOs are in fact introverts. The findings identified a disconnect between the image of the successful leader perpetuated in the media and favoured by company boards as charismatic, confident and extroverted, and the characteristics that work best in practice. The study identified four distinguishing qualities of successful CEOs. These are the ability to reach out to stakeholders; adapt to change; be reliable and predictable, rather than occasionally brilliant; and make decisions quickly and with conviction, even if those decisions are not perfect. It also found that successful CEOs hail from a variety of backgrounds: "Of the six million CEOs of companies in America, only 7 per cent went to an elite school and 8 per cent didn't graduate college at all. Some are immigrants; many worked their way up through the ranks from entry-level positions," the study says. INSIGHT WHAT MAKES A GOOD BOSS Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images Criticism (net) Criticism from the media Criticism from customers Criticism from employees Decline in company sales Boycotts Company could be hurt financially Job candidates not applying Employees quitting Criticism from the government 47% 30% 26% 21% 21% 21% 20% 14% 12% 9%

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