Thursday, March 4, 2021

The CEO Test: Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders (Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer)

In The CEO Test,  Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer compile a list of effective strategies that they feel will help any leader or executive navigate their position. The book is described as the “authoritative, no-nonsense insider’s guide to navigating leadership’s toughest challenges…” Bryant and Sharer interview several CEOs from major companies, who share their strategies and secrets that have helped them become successful.

The book identifies seven tests: Strategy, Culture, Team-building, Transformation, Crisis Management, Listening, and Leadership. Within those seven tests, the authors outline various pitfalls that can derail any leader and share some strategies to help them succeed. At times, their advice sounds contradictory or confusing, such as their ingredients for leadership; at others, the advice is sound and helpful, particularly in crisis management.

The only ingredient missing from the recipe list of “leadership” for effective CEOs is the ability to perform miracles. While the book offers some clear guidance on effective communication being necessary, it offers little more than a few empathetic remarks to help CEOs better understand the needs of today’s workers. Also missing are examples where the CEO fails in one area but succeeds in another and why their failings in the first place had little to do with the CEO themselves. In some cases, the “failure” of the CEO is less at their feet and more a product of not being able to spin up a miracle when one was needed.