Based on an in-depth analysis of over 2,600 leaders drawn from a database of more than 17,000 CEOs and C-suite executives, as well 13,000 hours of interviews, and two decades of experience advising CEOs and executive boards, Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell overturn the myths about what it takes to get to the top and succeed.
Their groundbreaking research was the featured cover story in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review. It reveals the common attributes and counterintuitive choices that set apart successful CEOs—lessons that we can apply to our own careers.
Much of what we hear about who gets to the top, and how, is wrong. Those who become chief executives set their sights on the C-suite at an early age. In fact, over 70 percent of the CEOs didn’t have designs on the corner office until later in their careers. You must graduate from an elite college. In fact, only 7 percent of CEOs in the dataset are Ivy League graduates--and 8 percent didn't graduate from college at all. To become a CEO you need a flawless résumé. The reality: 45 percent of CEO candidates had at least one major career blowup.
What those who reach the top do share are four key behaviors that anyone can master: they are decisive; they are reliable, delivering what they promised when the promise it, without exception; they adapt boldly, and they engage with stakeholders without shying away from conflict.
Based on this breakthrough study of the most successful people in business, Botelho and Powell offer career advice for everyone who aspires to get ahead. Based on research insights illustrated by real life stories from CEOs and boardrooms, they tell us how to:
- Fast-track our career by deploying the career catapults used by those who get to the top quickly
- Overcome the hidden handicaps to getting the job we want.
- Avoid the 5 hazards that most commonly derail those promoted into a new role.
For everyone who aspires to rise up through the organization and achieve their full potential, The CEO Next Door is an essential guide.
About the Author
ELENA L. BOTELHO grew up in Azerbaijan and Russia in a family of mathematicians, and earned her MBA from Wharton. She has advised over 200 CEOs and boards in nearly two decades, first as a strategy consultant at McKinsey and currently as a senior partner at ghSMART.
KIM R. POWELL grew up in Atlanta, and earned a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Over the last twenty years, Kim has applied her passion for helping people to her role as a trusted advisor to CEOs and high potential leaders, first at the Boston Consulting Group and now at ghSMART.
Tahl Raz is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. Find him at tahlraz.com.
“What does it take to succeed at the top? Botelho and Powell offer the answer — and it’s not what you think. Drawing on a remarkable analysis of thousands of current and potential CEOs, they find that the best of the best share some common traits. They may not all come from fancy schools, but they do know how to make smart decisions, adapt to changed circumstances, and work honestly and directly with customers and employees. Whether you’re running a large organization, or simply have your eye on the corner office, this book should be your guide.” — Daniel H. Pink, author of WHEN and DRIVE "Well-researched, practical and eye-opening...Botelho and Powell effectively demystify the path to becoming more successful. Instead of one CEO trying to impart knowledge about how to get ahead, Botehlo and Powell change the game by providing you practical wisdom distilled from 2,600 leaders about what really causes people to achieve their potential. The CEO Next Door is like having 2,600 mentors take you under their wing." — Shawn Achor, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential
“The CEO Next Door is the go-to guide for every aspiring professional for how to play and win at the very top of their game. Botelho and Powell weave together cutting edge leadership research with practical advice and inspiring stories to create a useful and credible roadmap.” — Marshall Goldsmith, #1 Leadership Thinker,author of the New York Times bestsellers Triggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There “Whether you're at the beginning, middle, or later stages of your career, The CEO Next Door offers practical, actionable advice to not just accelerate your path to the top, but also make you better at every step of the way. An indispensable guide for any aspiring professional.” — Laszlo Bock, CEO of Humu, bestselling author of Work Rules!, and former SVP of People at Google
“Invaluable for anyone looking to raise their leadership to a higher level. Using rigorous analysis drawn from thousands of interviews, Botelho and Powell have uncovered the behaviors, experiences and actions that truly differentiate leaders. Their book isn’t leaving my desk as I prepare to step into the CEO role.” — Tim Buckley, CEO The Vanguard Group “Debunks a host of myths about what it takes to become a CEO—and succeed as one. Based on an impressive database of intensive interviews with executives, it turns out that big failures and small egos are among the building blocks of great leadership. You won’t ever look at the corner office in the same way again.” — Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of GIVE AND TAKE, ORIGINALS, and OPTION B with Sheryl Sandberg
“The CEO Next Door contributes much needed research and data to a subject long dominated by anecdote and conjecture. Your probability of success will rise substantially when you put these insights into action – if you aspire to be a CEO or if you simply want to reach your full potential professionally, or if you are charged with developing and selecting the next generation leaders as a board member or a CHRO.” — L. Kevin Cox, Chief Human Resources Officer, American Express Company
"Based on extensive data from 17,000 assessments and field tested experiences, Botelho and Powell provide a compelling and concise roadmap to help you identify and develop your executive talent." — Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO AT&T
"Botelho and Powell challenge conventional wisdom to deliver the most useful and credible book on career success I’ve seen in years! The CEO Next Door offers a rare view behind the scenes on how leaders get picked for coveted roles and how they really succeed and fail. . . refreshingly candid and deeply researched. Whether you aspire to CEO role or are just starting out your career, The CEO Next Door will raise your odds of success and protect you from painful stumbles." — Jacqueline Reses, Capital Lead and People Lead, Square, Inc.
"A first-rate guide for aspiring CEOs as well as for those who have already moved into the top spot. Botelho and Powell’s compelling research and real-life stories provide a practical roadmap to leadership and career success that readers can apply in any setting." — Art Collins, Retired chairman & CEO, Medtronic, Inc.
"CEOs come from different backgrounds in terms of economic status, education, family, gender, race, color, country of origin and sexual orientation. Majority of them do an adequate job, some of them perform exceptionally well while few are utter failures. Everyone have a unique story of their journey to get to this destination. So what differentiates the top performers, mediocre performers and the laggards? This seminal work by Elena and Kim does an outstanding job of identifying habits and traits of super stars versus average performers. The frequent references to real situations and real people makes the book even more credible. The book ends on an optimistic note that everyone in any leadership position with determination and drive can master the skills. A must read for those who aspire to make a difference." — Raj L Gupta, Chairman Delphi Automotive PLC, Chairman Avantor Inc., Board member Arconic Inc, The Vanguard Group and IRI
With a 'Moneyball' approach to leadership, THE CEO NEXT DOOR uncovers 4 well researched CEO behaviors and shows the path to get to the top and stay there. A must read for aspiring leaders, CEOs, board members, and anyone responsible for grooming future leaders. – Jim Donald, former CEO Starbucks and Extended Stay Hotels
"Clear, practical guide on how to run any company, large or small. It’s not about credentials, breeding, looks, experience or resources, but about how one makes decisions, adapts to change, shows empathy and collects information. The CEO Next Door explodes the myths behind what it takes to get to the top and provides what works, regardless of gender or background. Eye-opening and operational." – Stuart Diamond, serial entrepreneur, author of the New York Times bestseller Getting More: How To Be A More Persuasive Person in Work and Life, and Professor at Wharton Business School
"What an invaluable book. With colorful stories and interviews, and solid, in-depth data to back up its points, The CEO Next Door is the next must-read for business leaders of all types!" – Susan Packard, co-founder HGTV, author and media executive
"The CEO Next Door is required reading for anyone who aspires to the C-suite and wants to thrive there. The analytics-driven insights in the book uncover traits of effective leaders that anyone can develop." – Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS
"Being a CEO is not about background or good fortune but about performance and hard work based on decisiveness, impact, reliability and adapting boldly which sets the stage for any future or current CEO. I enjoyed every page of this book. A must read for all those who care deeply about leading well." – Vicki Escarra, former CMO of Delta Air Lines and CEO of Feeding America and Opportunity International
"Botelho and Powell have brought big data and analytics to one of the critical bastions of business: the individuals who make it to the corner office. Their insights into business leadership has the promise to be a game-changer for companies, leaders, and everyone who aspires to get ahead." – Thales Teixeira, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School