Bursting the CEO Bubble
Although CEOs are charged with recognizing when their firms need a major change in direction, their power and privilege often insulate them from information that would help them perceive looming opportunities or threats. No one in the company wants to tell the CEO of problems, much less that he or she is mistaken. In interviews with 200 executives, Gregersen came across hardly any who didn't recognize this challenge. But he also saw that a few innovative leaders, like Walt Bettinger of Charles Schwab and Marc Benioff of Salesforce, have found a way to overcome it. Such executives take pains to get honest feedback from a broad range of constituents. They also venture off the beaten path, regularly putting themselves into situations where they are unusually uncomfortable, unexpectedly wrong, and uncharacteristically quiet. This helps them ask the right questions, discover new insights, and detect early weak signals of impending market shifts.