The Role of the New CEO

Report from the University of Oxford shares attributes of successful CEOs.
To navigate a complex and unpredictable world successfully, today's CEOs must be adaptable, authentic, and continually willing to grow. That’s according to The CEO Report, the product of a yearlong global research partnership between Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford in England and executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. The report is based on interviews with more than 150 CEOs from around the world and across business sectors.

According to the report, CEOs need “ripple intelligence,” or the ability to see the interactions of business contexts as if they are ripples moving across a pond. This allows them to envision how trends and contexts may intersect and change direction, so they can anticipate disruptions, make time to plan, and avoid being blindsided by unexpected events. In addition, ripple intelligence makes CEOs aware of their own impact and how their actions may influence situations that might otherwise seem remote and unconnected.

The report identifies other critical capabilities for top executives, such as the abilities to determine the speed, scope, and significance of change; transform doubt into a decision-making tool; balance adaptability with authenticity; navigate complex and paradoxical choices; and continually grow and renew themselves in their roles.

The full report is available at