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What you like in a CEO candidate may not deliver results

Attributes that often get someone hired as CEO may not be the ones that drive success once they are at the helm of the company. That’s one of many provocative insights in a study by consulting firm ghSMART. The study, recently featured in Harvard Business Review, identifies characteristics that differentiate the most effective leaders.

ghSMART’s 10-year CEO Genome Project provides incisive – even counterintuitive – insight into executives whose leadership was rated most beneficial to their organizations. The most valuable traits: decisiveness, reliability, adapting proactively and influencing stakeholders to drive results for the business. Degrees and pedigree showed no impact on performance, and fiercely independent leaders trailed behind in results.

Fourteen researchers, including data scientists, economists and psychologists, pored over ghSMART’s interview data representing more than 2,000 CEO candidates seeking employment with companies of all sizes across all major industry sectors. Additionally, follow-up interviews with boards and investors provided a window into executive behavior statistically predictive of leaders’ success.

“This study debunks some of the common criteria for selecting leaders,” said Jim Goodnight, CEO of  SAS. “It not only examines why CEOs are hired, but also what happened afterward. Behaviors that land the job don’t always benefit the employer. Unexpected truths like this are hidden in every kind of data. Analytics can surface them.”

Researchers sifted through data using SAS data mining, machine learning and other analytical techniques and interactively explored results with SAS Visual Analytics. These are the attributes that rose to the top for candidates who performed best as CEO:

  1. They make decisions with speed and conviction. They understand that a wrong decision often yields better results than no decision.
  2. They engage and influence stakeholders toward the goals of the enterprise.
  3. They proactively adapt their style and their strategies to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risks on the fly, as conditions warrant. And they aren’t daunted by setbacks.
  4. They want to be counted on and to design their organizations for reliable performance.

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Analytics Blog

Electoral College put to the math test


With the campaign two months behind us and the inauguration of Donald Trump two days away, isn’t it time to put the 2016 U.S. presidential election to bed and focus on issues that have yet to be decided? Of course not.


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Headlines

Study: Salaries for early career data scientists decrease for first time

Salaries for early career data scientists decreased year over year for the first time in four years as did the percentage of early career data scientists with a Ph.D. while demand for data scientists continued to increase, according to a recently released Burtch Works’ 2017 salary study of data scientists. Salaries for more experienced data scientists generally held steady or increased slightly depending on an individual’s focus area, responsibility and geographic base, according to the report. Read more →

Generous health insurance plans encourage overtreatment, but may not improve health

Offering comprehensive health insurance plans with low deductibles and co-pay in exchange for higher annual premiums seems like a good value for the risk averse, and a profitable product for insurance companies. But according to a forthcoming study in a leading scholarly marketing journal, the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, such plans can encourage individuals with chronic conditions to turn to needlessly expensive treatments that have little impact on their health outcomes. This in turn raises costs for the insurer and future prices for the insured. Read more →

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