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What Does a CEO Brain Profile Look Like?

The video featured here is part of a series of Whole Brain Thinking topics presented by Ann Herrmann-Nehdi. 

CEOs and key leaders need to be more agile than ever in today’s onslaught of change impacting organizations. This requires a stretch for many leaders I am working with.

Our data on CEO’s shows that they are uniquely positioned to be able to flex between often competing demands for their thinking and decision making. In a recent CEO conversation, these four areas emerged as the mental demands most needed today:

A. Constantly analyzing facts and data and critical thinking to make meaning of it and leverage digital and technical solutions for accelerated decision making and problem solving

B. Planning and executing new measures ‘on demand’ and ensuring tactics are in place in response to a rapidly changing risk environment and safety concerns

C. Listening with great empathy to all stakeholders ( leaders, associates, partners and customers), while communicating more than ever to ensure all are engaged.

D. Pivoting strategically as disruption continues using creative resourcefulness and innovation to address previously unforeseen challenges.

As it turns out, those our issues fall into each quadrants of the Whole Brain Thinking model. In this video I explore why are CEO’s best positioned to respond. The text below is the transcript and or you can watch the video below to learn more:

People really want to understand how they can get inside the brains of CEOs. And one of the things that's exciting about our research is that we have an extensive database and did a study not too long ago of recent CEOs, several thousand CEOs, looking at what makes them tick from a thinking perspective.

And I was curious to see whether the data had changed because this is research that we've been doing for many years.

And there is a distinct difference in the way CEOs think from most other occupations. They tend to be more multi dominant in their thinking. Three percent 3% of the population has a balanced profile across all four quadrants of the Whole Brain Thinking model. You have a much higher percentage of that profile in the CEO occupation group.

Why is that?

They have to interact with all aspects of the business. 

They’re interacting with the technical side of the organization. They have to deal with the people side of the organization. They must focus on execution. And of course they need to provide the vision and long-term thinking and strategy for the organization.

Most of the CEOs I work with get frustrated because they can see it all in their mind's eye. 

They don't understand why others don't think that way. 

Not too long along I was with a team that was getting ready to go into a big IPO transition, and the CEO was so frustrated because he said, “You know everybody's just thinking about their own functional silo and freaking out about what they need.” 

We used the model and his profile and the profiles of the team to help the whole team understand that they needed to actually be thinking like the CEO and seeing the other perspectives from the other functional viewpoints. 

CEOs are interesting in that even if they're not truly multi dominant in their profile, the most successful CEOs out there will surround themselves with people who make sure that they're seeing all four of those perspectives. 

And then of course they listen to those perspectives, and that’s what makes them really successful.

CEO Profile

For more information about how your business can gain visibility into the thinking profiles of your leadership (and how to leverage that for success),  please click here for a free consultation.

Tags: leadership development, Whole Brain Thinking, Cognitive diversity

The four-color, four-quadrant graphic, HBDI® and Whole Brain® are trademarks of Herrmann Global, LLC.

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