Everyone, Including CEOs, Needs Guidance

CEOs don't have all the answers. And when asked, they will be the first to tell you. That is among the findings in a study conducted, in part, by Stanford University.

The highlights:

"It's lonely at the top" appears to be truer than ever, according to a new study conducted by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford University's Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and The Miles Group. Nearly two thirds of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, and almost half of senior executives are not receiving any either, the survey reveals.

"What's interesting is that nearly 100% of CEOs in the survey responded that they actually enjoy the process of receiving coaching and leadership advice, so there is real opportunity for companies to fill in that gap," said David F. Larcker, who led the research team and is professor of accounting and Morgan Stanley Director of the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in a news release.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Shortage of advice at the top: Nearly 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, while 100% of them stated that they are receptive to making changes based on feedback. Nearly 80% of directors said that their CEO is receptive to coaching. "If CEOs are willing to be coached and make changes based on coaching, it stands to reason that companies and boards should make this happen," said Professor Larcker.
  • CEOs are the ones looking to be coached: When asked "Whose decision was it for you to receive coaching?" 78% of CEOs said it was their own idea. Twenty-one percent said that coaching was the board chairman's idea.
  • Coaching "progress" is largely kept private: More than 60% of CEOs responded that the progress they are making in their coaching sessions is kept between themselves and their coach; only a third said that this information is shared with the board of directors. Professor Larcker adds, "Keeping the board informed of progress can improve CEO/board relations."
  • How to handle conflict ranks as highest area of concern for CEOs: When asked which is the biggest area for their own personal development, nearly 43% of CEOs rated "conflict management skills" the highest.
  • Boards eager for CEOs to improve talent development: The top two areas board directors say their CEOs need to work on are "mentoring skills/developing internal talent" and "sharing leadership/delegation skills."
  • Top areas that CEOs use coaching to improve: sharing leadership/delegation, conflict management, team building, and mentoring. Bottom of the list: motivational skills, compassion/empathy, and persuasion skills

Indiana Hits It Big in Year in Review

There’s nothing like a little teaser to whet your appetite for more. Here’s what we included in today’s INside Edge e-newsletter about this blog post:

When a national organization lists the top five events in a particular field for a certain year, it’s quite an accomplishment to gain a mention. It’s even better when you’re cited three times in those five entries, including an individual recognition for overall efforts. Find out who and what we’re talking about.

The answers are Indiana education reforms in 2011 and the accolades come from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University as it ranks the best education events of the past year.

Here’s the full press release, with Indiana’s mentions below:

BEST Education Events of 2011
1. Reinvigoration of school choice via opportunity scholarships and vouchers.
Despite the attractive choice that private schools (especially Catholic schools) offer in many inner cities and notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s resolution of issues of federal constitutionality, private school choice remained largely politically taboo until this year.  In what history may view as a watershed, private school choice moved ahead in many places in 2011, including the District of Columbia, where the scholarship program was resuscitated in Congress by Speaker John Boehner; Indiana, where opportunity scholarships were made available to perhaps half the state’s students; and Ohio, which lifted a too-tight cap on its program for kids exiting low-performing schools.

2. The rollback of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey, Idaho, and (temporarily) Ohio.
Progress in improving education is slowed by union contracts that impede sensible decisions about the hiring, firing, deployment, and compensation of educators.  CBAs also drive up costs.  Moreover, many public sector workers are generously compensated—and enjoy relatively secure jobs—and their gold-plated benefit systems are bankrupting states and school systems.  Voters and courageous state leaders finally put these issues on the table in 2011, and five states made major reforms in the pertinent statutes.  (Ohio’s were undone in a November referendum.) 

5. Indiana’s overall record of education reform.
During 2011, Indiana abolished collective bargaining for teacher benefits and work rules.  It allowed all universities to authorize charter schools and removed its cap on charter schools.  The legislature also enacted a program of opportunity scholarships for low-income students that Indiana state superintendent Tony Bennett has correctly described as “the nation’s most expansive.”  Indiana moved school board elections from spring to fall, in effect empowering the broader public to participate in the governance of its school systems.  In sum, Indiana has the best reform record of any state in 2011.