David Mastovich

Do only what you can do. An extremely difficult and challenging mindset, but one that the best business leaders possess and do so well.

What makes the best CEO? 

How do the best CEOs think and act?

McKinsey Global Institute studied performance data on thousands of CEOs to show which styles, attitudes, beliefs and approaches make them succeed the most.

The institute researched

25 years of data from 3,500 public companies around the world. The results showed that excellent CEOs had these six mindsets:

Beating the odds

These CEOs focus on beating the odds and know that what they’re doing isn’t necessarily the easiest path. It’s probably not the most commonly followed path. They know that their odds maybe aren’t really that good.

Think of Elon Musk, who’s probably one of those best CEOs. Think about what he’s done with Tesla, or if you happened to buy some Tesla stock in the past year or two year, you’re feeling pretty good about Elon Musk.

Manage performance and health

The most successful CEOs manage performance and health. They manage performance of the company. They’re held accountable from a financial and operational standpoint. 

They manage the performance of their team. But they also manage their own performance and health, which is significant because the workaholic syndrome of the ’70s, ’80s and into the ’90s is still somewhat pervasive. But in the past 20 years, we’ve seen more and more leaders realize that we need to focus on balance. 

We need to focus on financial health, but we also need to focus on our personal health and fitness – how we eat and how we spend our time.

Dynamics before mechanics

The third trait is to put dynamics ahead of mechanics. 

We can build all kinds of processes, action plans and strategic plans. But the dynamics of culture and relationships are what really drive the success of a company. 

So, when you talk about putting dynamics ahead of mechanics, as a mindset I interpret that as putting culture and relationships ahead of processes and day-to-day work.

Help leaders lead

The fourth trait is successful CEOs help their directors help the business. They allow their team leaders to lead. They’re helping them help the business.

Focus on long-term

The top CEOs of the past 25 years center on the long term. Why? The CEO needs to clearly articulate their why or reason for being, but also need to understand and continually understand their customers’ why, or reason for buying.

Do what you can do Do only what you can do is extremely important and it’s focusing on your unique ability on the things that only you can do, or that you do better than everyone in the organization.

Those are the six mindsets of the best CEOs based on the McKinsey Global Institute study of 25 years of data on 3,500 public companies.

Sure, this is about the top CEOs, but we can all apply these particulars if we’re leading a team, and if we’re leading a company.

These six mindsets will help us leverage our strengths and help lead and drive our companies to greater success.

David Mastovich is founder and CEO of MASSolutions, host of the “No BS Marketing” podcast and author of the book “Get Where You Want to Go Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling.”

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