Does what matters to CEOs matter to you? Put these “crucial capabilities” in order.

May 26, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

IBM conducted a study of over 1,500 business leaders across 60 countries and 33 industries. And it showed they value creativity most in a leader. Above integrity.

What do you think?

Even as a creative director/CEO I find this wrong-minded.

Nothing in my mind should be above integrity for anyone in any role.

IBM study 2010

At NYCA, we value technical expertise very highly but it takes a back seat to doing what you say you will do. We are not our disciplines, we are human beings who are accountable to all our constituents for the quality of our ethics and the quality of our deliverables.

The poll cited creativity as the most important leadership quality because creative leaders are seen as more prepared to break with the status quo of industry, enterprise and revenue models, and they are 81% more likely to rate innovation as a “crucial capability.”

Although we are a global community, I find it reassuring that there was a disparity between the views of North American CEOs and those from other territories.

In North America, 65% of CEOs think integrity is a top quality for tomorrow’s leaders, while only 29-48% of CEOs in other territories view it as such.

Meanwhile, nearly double the amount of CEOs in China view global thinking as a top leadership quality, compared with Europe and North America.

Here’s my order from the IBM list of the most important leadership qualities over the next five years and why.

Integrity – If the leader can’t be counted on the company will not reach its potential.

Influence – Leaders must be able to inspire their team; if they have great ideas but can’t influence the company will fail.

Creativity – Leaders must be flexible, create value for all.

Dedication – Leaders can’t ask of others if they don’t deliver themselves.

Openness – Leaders can’t do it alone; leaders must listen and be strong enough to be guided.

Fairness – Fairness depends on the leader’s values; as long as she makes them clear and has the integrity to stand by them the company will stand by her.

Humility – Openness and integrity can help keep the leader’s ego in check.

Focus on sustainability – Of course important, but may not be a successful corporation’s top focus.

Global thinking – Depends on the goals of the company.

What do you think? Put the list in your order and let me know. More importantly let your CEO know.