Print

Hiring & Development >> Browse Articles >> Leadership and Mentoring

Rate

CEOs Share Their Secrets To Success

CEOs Share Their Secrets To Success

As CEO, "you get powerpointed to death," says Marie Toulantis of Barnes & Noble.com. She's seen too many flashy graphics and glossy brochures without substantive research to back them up.

By Denise Kersten, USATODAY.com

June 18, 2009

Do you belong in the corner office? To succeed as a business leader you must “have integrity, value the need to make a profit but not be consumed by that need, and really care about people,” says Bette Price, co-author of True Leaders: How Exceptional CEOs and Presidents Make a Difference by Building People and Profits.

The Daily Grind asked CEOs to share the most important lesson they learned on their climb up the proverbial corporate ladder. They served up a variety of pointers for workers on the bottom rung to those hoping to take the reins.

Build teamwork

You’re only as successful as your team, says Mike Eskew, CEO of UPS, who has been with the company since graduating from college 30 years ago.

“We really all play our role,” Eskew says. When you deliver your first package to a satisfied customer, “you realize the network worked.” But when you make your first late delivery, “you realize the team is important and maybe you ought to do a better job.”

UPS fosters teamwork by empowering employees to make decisions, Eskew says. “We let them know that their customers depend on them. They really feel like that’s ‘my community,’ and they really take that to heart.”

Focus on substance, not flash.

As CEO, “you get powerpointed to death,” says Marie Toulantis of Barnes & Noble.com. She’s seen too many flashy graphics and glossy brochures without substantive research to back them up.

Toulantis prefers a nuts-and-bolts approach that’s heavy on information and analysis. She advises gathering facts and solving problems instead of designing slides and inventing buzzwords.

“Make sure you get the book right instead of focusing on the cover,” Toulantis says. “Too often people worry about the external appearance of something, but they haven’t put enough time, effort and determination into the underlying issue.”

Take charge.

“Everything is always the CEO’s fault and responsibility,” says Doug McCormick, CEO of iVillage. “Anyone who points a finger at someone else doesn’t get what it means to be CEO.”