Are good CEOs dull?
May 21, 2009
A study titled “Which C.E.O. Characteristics and Abilities Matter?” by Kaplan, Klebanov and Sorensen, suggests they are.
A key observation, evocatively rephrased by David Brooks in his NYTimes column, is that “Charismatic C.E.O.’s and politicians always want the exciting new breakthrough — whether it is the S.U.V. or a revolutionary new car. The methodical executives at successful companies just make the same old four-door sedan, but they make it better and better.”
In praise of dullness, he writes that: “…people in the literary, academic and media worlds rarely understand business. It is nearly impossible to think of a novel that accurately portrays business success. That’s because the virtues that writers tend to admire — those involving self-expression and self-exploration — are not the ones that lead to corporate excellence.”