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D.A.R.E. to be a great CEO

Picture this for the beginning:

You are with a company for a couple of years now, constantly on the look-out of way to improve processes and decisions, to help your colleagues, showing up everyday ready to make a difference and stretch your boundaries. You had sometimes the feeling you are sort of a firefighter, called on to clear a project gone bad, or sometimes a craftsman that needs to build everything from scratch. You had your share of failures, but you always seen them as necessary learning exercises.

Congratulations! You are CEO material!

You may not know it or not even aspire right now to that position, but you have the right background.

That is what Elena Botelho and Kim Powell found out through an extensive research based on 17,000 assessments of executives. The data allowed them to look at each success retrospectively and identify the threads that supported the results. The book “The CEO Next Door” is a condensed set of skills, tools and advice that emerged from the research and that can be applied in a multitude of situations. It has something for everyone! If you are at the beginning of the road to leadership or even CEO, or you are confronted with the decision to pursue a CEO opportunity, if you are about to be take a CEO job, or you are a new CEO or even an experience one, you will find a valuable insight.


The message of the book is best summarized in:

“To be highly successful, your strongest behaviors should match the behaviors most needed to drive value in the business.”

Hence, you should D.A.R.E to be a CEO!

For that you need to build a Decisiveness muscle, make sure you Adapt boldly, you are restlessly Reliable and Engaged for impact.

Each characteristic comes with examples in the book of how you can grow it and make sure you utilize it properly.

Once you have acquired the skills you can move to setting the stage for transition in the CEO position. Now the focus is more on what are the career moves that might get you there, how do you stand out and get the right people to notice you and your potential.

Again, Elena and Kim build a powerful set of techniques supported by the real examples encountered via their research.

You might think that once you got the job, all is settled. You just have to do your job and everyone will cheer for you. … Not really! I find keeping the CEO job as hard, even harder, than getting it. You will be in a constant spotlight, with a lot of unknown variables, having to take decisions that will shape a great amount of lives.

In my search of having a clear picture of all the powerful ideas of the book, I’ve set up a visual map spit in 3 sections: “Prepare for CEO”, “Get to CEO” and “Stay as CEO”.


CristinaMuehl Visual Map for “CEO Next Door”

You can download a pdf version of the visual map here Visual Map_CEO Next Door.

To give you an even more flavor of the book, here are some quotes that I particularly found inspiring:

  • “… what all the best CEOs do: Your job is to decide on the what and empower others to decide the how.”
  • “Do not step in when the decision rights reside with others in the organization who have the information and experience to make the decision. It is a tactic that can be incorporated by leaders at every level.”
  • “The only member of the orchestra who doesn’t produce any music directly, the conductor, like a CEO, is entirely dependent on others to deliver results.”
  • “Getting to the top seat is the output of two mutually reinforcing factors: getting results in the right roles and getting noticed for those results.”
  • “You have much more oxygen to feed the flame when you’re working at an intersection where you can add the most value and contribute what the organization values most.”
  • “Likeability and confidence impart no advantage in performance, but they definitely help you land the job.”
  • “The number one success factor for a new CEO or a leader at any level is simply picking the right opportunity.”
  • “Don’t accept just any CEO role. Accept the right role for your skills, strengths, and values.Therefore, our first piece of advice may be the hardest to heed….Stop.Pause.”
  • “In the cab that day, Ted Hall offered Dom this leadership truth: “There are three stages to a leader’s career. First, you’re known for what you can do. Second, you’re known for what you know. Third, people want to follow you because of who you are.” This is true of all leaders and especially CEOs.”
  • “You may not look anything like the interviewers who will decide whether you get the job. You may not have gone to the same schools or played the same sports. But if you can leave them feeling safer and more energized than you found them, you’ve got a great shot at getting the job.”
  • “If you want sympathy, go to a friend. If you are going to a sponsor, make requests, not complaints.”
  • “To become a successful manager and leader, you need to be able to transition from being focused on individual achievement to collective achievement.”
  • “Those who rise from the pack are, quite simply, the most devoted students.”
  • “To sustain reliable results over time requires a thoughtful management system, complete with process, metrics, and a predictable cadence that architects for discipline.”


D.A.R.E to be the next CEO Next Door!


If you are looking for more info on leadership take a look at the article “Leadership – What Leaders are made of” or “5 Lessons that I’ve learned from … ‘Good to Great’

And be sure to give me some feedback on the visual map.

Thank you!

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