There is a consensus among CEOs and business school professors that there are just short of a dozen indispensable characteristics that are essential for an effective chief executive.
1. Have a coherent vision for your organization's future.
2. Hire people who may be smarter than you are, and include them in crafting strategies and action plans to implement a collectively determined vision.
3. Listen to a lot of people who may not agree with your vision.
4. Understand who your stakeholders are, pay attention to their views, and let them know how you're doing.
5. Understand your competitors and the environments in which you and they operate.
6. Give your strategists lots of latitude to do their planning, but subject them to frequent reality checks.
7. Establish benchmarks to measure progress.
8. Develop alternative realistic scenarios. Always have a Plan B, C, or D, because every major policy initiative is likely to have "unintended consequences."
9. Be willing to admit and correct errors, even if this means altering the vision.
10. Maintain the integrity of the organization and its goals through sound internal accounting and ethical guidelines.