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6 Traits Your Next CEO Should Have

By Retained | June 25, 2024

Technology is accelerating rapidly, resulting in many of today’s organizations fighting to keep up with the rate of change. What worked yesterday won’t work today, and what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. At the forefront of organizational success is maintaining a competitive technological edge to remain relevant and effective in a rapidly changing market. Hiring the right CEO can help you find that edge, but in an ever-growing skills-based hiring market, determining the CEO must haves is essential. Which leadership traits and technical skills should the ideal CEO possess? We suggest you look for the following seven traits that any successful CEO should bring to the table.

Leadership Curiosity

Today’s CEO will always want to search for the most efficient and effective solutions available. That doesn’t mean they will chase the flavor of the month. They will explore and make small bets, surrounding themselves with internal and external talent, failing fast, and when they’ve landed on something that will optimize the business, they’ll act. Being knowledgeable about IT infrastructure, software development, cybersecurity, data management, and emerging technologies helps the CEO make informed decisions. Understanding the technology space also helps a CEO lead through issues that arise while their team optimizes their organization’s IT fabric.

Innovation and Change Management

As a leader in one of the most rapidly evolving sectors, being an agent of change is a must. CEO candidates with a track record of leading digital transformation initiatives and evidence of leading teams through change will have an edge. And, if they don’t know the answers, they will be adept at finding a fellow CEO, a contract employee, or a third-party partner for assistance.

Customer-Centric Mindset

In today’s business landscape, a laser-like focus on customer success wins the day, and a stand-out CEO embraces the importance of having a customer-centric approach to the organization. Leveraging new technologies and the latest best practices for an enhanced user experience is imperative to retain and attract business. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but a demand from clients and customers alike.

Harnessing the Power of AI

Artificial Intelligence is becoming increasingly important and hard to ignore. There is no doubt that organizations that take advantage of AI’s ability to optimize and improve work efficiency while enhancing products and solutions will be better positioned for success. The right CEO will be able to help your organization navigate this evolving landscape and carefully and creatively implements AI seamlessly.

Leadership Skills

A CEO’s leadership skills are usually the first thing thought of when it comes to needs, and they cannot be overlooked. CEOs not only have to lead their organization but must work across all business functions to perform at the highest level. CEOs must be relationship-minded and effective communicators.

A Holistic Approach

Gone are the days when CEOs are out on an island to themselves. They think cross-functionally. They understand how decisions across sectors will impact other business functions, the ROI of decisions, organizational objectives, and team needs. Being able to articulate the organization’s greater needs and how it relates to technology is key. Seeing the environment from a broad lens will enable the CEO, and their team, to identify and implement the right technology solutions that best help the organization reach its strategic goals.

Hiring Your Next CEO

There are many exceptional CEOs and soon-to-be CEOs within your reach. To find one that best fits your culture and goals, consider utilizing an executive search firm like Retained to help you find the perfect match, the first time. We would love an opportunity to share with you how we’re reengineering the executive search process.