Leaders on the Tight Rope

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Business Person Walking TightropeEgon Zehnder recently conducted a fascinating global survey to evaluate how well newly-hired executives were integrating into their companies.


  • 87% said companies will need to be more creative, daring, and innovative “in their approaches to developing and retaining top executives in the future.”
  • 78% observed that past performance or technical competencies are no longer “the best predictors of success in a new role.”
  • 87% noted that strong interpersonal traits are a key differentiator when identifying a truly exceptional leader.  Damien O’Brien, CEO of Egon Zehnder, said that leaders today must “win the hearts and minds of employees and this requires a different type of leadership.”

The survey confirmed what R|L has been advocating for years.  Successful leaders:

  1. Set their dysfunctional, self-serving egos aside while maintaining their boldness, confidence, and vulnerability.  Accordingly, they are more other-focused than self-focused.  They strive to serve the greater organizational good, versus themselves.
  2. Do the right thing for the right reasons.  They ask for recommendations; they don’t dictate a direction.  They explore options; they aren’t stuck with only one tried-and-true perspective.
  3. Operate in a conscious and deliberate manner, taking complete accountability for their impact on others. They understand that authenticity and behavioral adaptability are the most important determinants to leadership success.

For the survey results, please refer to the article on Egon Zehnder’s website.

Based on your experience, what would you recommend someone do to successfully transition into a new organization?

If you are in transition now, how can you enhance your innovativeness and interpersonal nimbleness?


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