I enjoy reading the New York Times on Sunday mornings. It’s one of my rituals. This article – “Distilling The Wisdom of CEOs”, adapted from “The  Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons From CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed” by Adam Bryant is worth blogging about.

Bryant’s 70 interviews with CEOs point to these five essentials for success. CEOs have these five traits, and they look for these characteristics in the people they want to hire.

  1. Passionate Curiosity – constant students of human nature
  2. Battle-Hardened Confidence – how you’ve dealt with past failure
  3. Team Smarts – how to get the most out of a group
  4. A Simple Mind-Set – Be concise, get to the point, keep it simple
  5. Fearlessness – Get comfortable being uncomfortable

As a presentation skills coach I did backward somersaults on item #4 – keeping it simple. If you can’t distill down to the core point, if you provide an overlong slide presentation, if you talk more rather than less – you lose.

Bryant actually uses long and deadly slide presentations as a prime example of negating the concept of simplicity. He said, “Few things seem to get CEOs riled up more than lengthy PowerPoint presentations. What irks them is unfocused thinking.”

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