I also gravitated to this same article, but on a more personal level. Last April, I became a CEO on an interim basis as the result of the former CEO abruptly leaving the organization at the start of the pandemic. I was asked to take on the role in addition to my current role (as CFO), but to delegate what I could to those that reported to me. After seven months as the interim CEO, I was named the permanent CEO of the home care and hospice division of our healthcare corporation.
As I read this article, I kept reading it through the lens of "am I doing what I should be doing?" Am I challenging myself to explore new ideas? Are we challenging the status quo and considering new and innovative ways to deliver health care in a home setting?
The article focuses on three personality traits: overconfidence and selfism, which negatively correlate with innovation, and core self-evaluation, which is positively correlated. I would associate overconfidence with "resting on ones laurels" or "becoming fat, dumb, and happy". Being comfortable is something that no CEO should become - if you're not worried about a dozen things, you're kidding yourself. Selfism, or putting your own needs before those of the organization, will lead to decisions that will primarily benefit the CEO in the short-term and probably limit innovating thinking because the CEO will want to "play it safe". Self-evaluation, or constantly challenging oneself, is critical to long-term success. It helps guard against complacency and fosters the type of innovation all organizations have to embrace to stay relevant.
One challenge in being a CEO is finding the right balance. A CEO needs to be confident but not overconfident. Confidence is critical to being able to solve problems, express the organization's vision, and institute change in the face of resistance. Some selfism is needed to help you find the fortitude to keep working because you believe what you're doing is the right thing. And while self-evaluation is good, too much will leave the CEO constantly questioning his decision-making and can lead to "paralysis by overanalysis".
As a new CEO, I know I'll refer back to this article and its findings frequently to make sure my organization challenges itself and strives to innovate.
Sent: 04-13-2021 19:09
From: Roy Boustany
Subject: Will Self-Love Take a Fall? Effects of Top Executives Positive Self-Regard on Firm Innovativeness
I recently found an interesting article on the online Journal of product innovation management. "Will Self‐Love Take a Fall? Effects of Top Executives' Positive Self‐Regard on Firm Innovativeness" authored by Dr Ruth Stock, Dr Matthias Groß and Katherine R Xin.
The article mainly focuses on top executives personalities and self regard and how that affects a firm performance and innovativeness. They build their study on the upper echelon theory which is a theory that states that organization outcomes are somewhat predicted by top management background characteristics. The authors completed a questionnaire that involved 214 executives participating in an MBA program and 647 of their subordinates. They then match each executive with their subordinates. They used a scale from 1 to 7 to rate executive personality traits and completed descriptive statistics to evaluate results.
It was found that selfism and overconfidence had a negative correlation with the top executive innovative behavior whereas the top executive innovative behavior is positively correlated with the firm's product program newness. Although top executives need to have some type of self regard and confidence in order to be able to make decisions it seems that being overconfident will negatively impact their innovation.
This actually brings up an interesting point related to the hiring process of CEOs and the need for the stakeholders involved in the hiring process to possibly ask candidates to undergo personality tests. The interplay of psychological and demographic characteristics plays an important role in predicting executives behavior. Below is the link to the article.