Chris Westfall

By Chris Westfall

What CEOs and C-Suite Leaders Really Want

What CEOs and C-Suite Leaders Really Want 150 150 Chris Westfall

Chris Westfall Leadership Meeting


What do leaders really want?
That’s the question that IBM asked over 1500 CEOs: what’s the number one quality you look for, in a leader?

From Dubai to Dubuque, and everywhere in between, CEOs weighed in on the most desired aspect of leadership.

Surprisingly, the most-desired quality or characteristic was not technical competence.

It wasn’t loyalty, or communication skills, or financial acumen.

The top characteristic wasn’t charisma. Or empathy.

The number-one most important characteristic for business leaders?

Creativity.

That characteristic is quite surprising, when you consider the traditional definition of creativity.  Under careful consideration, “being creative” is not always a positive and encouraging description.

Related: Find out what Entrepreneur has to say, about Identifying Your Blind Spot

For financial professionals, project managers, executives and other task- or numbers-oriented individuals, the call for creativity seems quite contrary to the training and experiences that form the very foundation of the business world.

For example: Where do you find creative accountants?
Answer: Jail.

“Creative” skills are not commonplace in shipping, accounts payable, or operations.  Or are they?

Creativity, in the context of business, means the power of creation.  Creativity is the way that leaders harness imagination to disrupt the status quo, and find new solutions to the same old problems. The global leaders in the IBM survey are seeking creative solutions to business challenges.  The leaders in the survey identify creativity as the antidote for the status quo.

For leaders, creativity is a vital disruption. Creativity is the birthplace of innovation.

Creativity can exist anywhere a process is created or improved. That means in shipping, accounts payable, or operations. And especially in the C-Suite.

Creativity means many things, but at its core, the process of creation begins with an idea.

Based on current information, “what if?” opens the door to imagination. New solutions can only come from within the realm of new ideas.  As the economy continues to expand, the leaders of tomorrow are the ones who are open to new concepts, new perspectives and new solutions.  Seeing things as they are is an important skill.

But, for C-Suite leaders: seeing things as they could be – and then making them that way? Well, that takes some creativity.


  • Do you agree? What does creativity mean to you, and to your organization?
  • How do you develop a workplace where creativity is allowed to thrive?
  • How is creativity linked to innovation for you?

 

About the Author:

Chris Westfall is the publisher of seven books, including the international best-seller, The NEW Elevator Pitch. His latest title is Leadership Language: Communication Skills for Changing Your Results, coming from Wiley in the fall of 2018. Find out more on his website, and follow him on twitter.

 

 

photo credit: Philadelphia Business Meeting image by the author

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