CEOs Brimming With Ideas, Lacking In Organization

March 22, 2006
Team support may provide needed boost to execute plans.

There's a reason why the CEO and secretary is as classic a pair as Martin and Lewis. A new study concludes that when it comes to creativity, CEOs have more than other executives -- they just don't have the organizational skills to take their ideas to fruition on their own.

PsyMax Solutions, a human capital assessment firm based in Cleveland, analyzed the behavioral profiles of more than 240 presidents, CEOs and chief operating officers from its database of work-style profiles of 11,000 executives, managers and staff-level employees.

High creativity, which includes innovativeness and risk-taking, was found to be the work-style behavior that most distinguishes today's presidents and chief executive officers, says Wayne Nemeroff, himself a CEO at PsyMax.

"CEOs diverge from 'normal' successful executives in various ways, creativity being the most important," Nemeroff says. "CEOs also tend to score well above average in their ability to advocate and sell ideas and in tough-mindedness, their resilience in the face of criticism."

However, he says, the flip side is that, "according to our findings, company heads are decidedly less organized than their subordinates. While CEOs may excel at addressing issues in an innovative, resourceful and imaginative way, they probably need a lot of support from others on their team to execute what needs to be done."

That's why senior executives below C-level often have work styles that complement the CEO's, Nemeroff explains. "Unlike their CEO, managers at the next level may be more collaborative or orderly. The wise CEO would be sure to be surrounded by people with such essential work-style behaviors and skills."

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