The CEO Next Door

The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders

Elena Lytkina Botelho, Kim Rosenkoetter Powell, Tahl Raz

Publisher: Currency, 2018, 272 pages

ISBN: 978-1-101-90649-1

Keywords: Leadership

Last modified: Sept. 15, 2021, 1:14 p.m.

Based on an in-depth analysis of over 2,600 leaders drawn from a database of more than 17,000 CEOs and C-suite executives — as well 13,000 hours of interviews and two decades of experience advising CEOs and executive boards — Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell overturn the myths about what it takes to get to the top and succeed.

Botelho and Powell's groundbreaking research, the featured cover story in a 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, reveals the common attributes and counterintuitive choices that set apart successful CEOs — lessons that we can apply to our own careers.

Much of what we hear about who gets to the top, and how, is wrong. Those who become chief executives set their sights on the C-suite at an early age. In fact, over 70 percent of the CEOs didn't have designs on the corner office until later in their careers. You must graduate from an elite college. In fact, only 7 percent of CEOs in the dataset are Ivy League graduates — and 8 percent didn't graduate from college at all. To become a CEO you need a flawless résumé. The reality: 45 percent of CEO candidates had at least one major career blowup.

What those who reach the top do share are four key behaviors that anyone can master: They are decisive; they are reliable, delivering what they promised when they promise it, without exception; they adapt boldly; and they engage with stakeholders without shying away from conflict.

Culled from a breakthrough study of the most successful people in business and illustrated by real-life stories from CEOs and boardrooms, The CEO Next Door offers career advice for everyone who aspires to get ahead. Bothelo and Powell, utilizing their research insights, tell us how to:

    • fast-track our careers by deploying the career catapults used by those who get to the top quickly
    • overcome the hidden handicaps to getting the job we want.
    • avoid the five hazards that most commonly derail those promoted into a new role

    For everyone who hopes to advance in their organization and achieve their full potential, The CEO Next Door is an essential guide.

    • Section I: Get Strong: Master the CEO Genome Behaviors
      1. Unlocking the Secrets of the CEO Genome
        • What Makes a Great CEO?
        • Could It Be You?
        • Research Approach
      2. Decide: Speed Over Precision
        • Make Decisions Faster
        • Make Fewer Decisions
        • Get Better Every Time
      3. Engage for Impact: Orchestrate Stakeholders to Drive Results
        • Lead with Intent
        • Understand the Players
        • Build Your Relationships Through Routines
      4. Relentless Reliability: Deliver Consistently
        • Discover the Thrill of Personal Consistency
        • Set Realistic Expectations
        • Stand Up and Be Counted On
        • Adopt the Drills of Highly Reliable Organizations
      5. Adapt Boldly: Ride the Discomfort of the Unknown
        • Let Go of the Past
        • Build an Antenna for the Future
      • Adding It All Up
    • Section II: Get to the Top: Win Your Dream Job
      1. Career Catapults: Fast-Track Your Future
        • Launching Your Career to the Top
        • Career Catapult #1: The Big Leap
        • Career Catapult #2: The Big Mess
        • Career Catapult #3: Go Small to Go Big
        • Blowups: Curse or Crucible?
      2. Stand Out: How to Become Known
        • Visibility with the Right People
        • Visibility in the Right Way
      3. Close the Deal
        • Become the Happy Warrior
        • Safety of Language
        • Memorable and Relevant
        • Set the Agenda
        • The Four Archetypes: Are You a Match to the Role?
    • Section III: Get Results: Navigate the Challenges of the Role
      1. The Five Hidden Hazards at the Top
        • Hazard #1: The Ghouls in the Supply Closet
        • Hazard #2: Entering Warp Speed
        • Hazard #3: Amplification and the Permanent Spotlight
        • Hazard #4: It's a Smartphone, Not a Calculator
        • Hazard #5: The C-Suite Is a Psychological Thunder Dome
      2. Not Just Any Team — Your Team
        • The Inaugural Address
        • The Six "Safe" People Bets That Put You in Peril
        • Draft the Right Team Quickly
        • Build Your New Language
      3. Dancing with the Titans — The Board
        • Who Is Really in Charge?
        • The Best Questions No One Asks Their Board Members
        • From Lunch Function to Functional
        • How to Deliver Bad News
        • Make It Count
    • Epilogue: From Ordinary to Extraordinary