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The CEOs Of The Future Aren’t Who You Think

A CEO’s legacy is determined not by fame, but by a different set of factors

We’re living in the age of “celebrity” CEOs. In this relatively new phenomenon, these executives sign autographs, grace the pages of fashion magazines and even make movie cameos. This month, Elon Musk predicted an apocalyptic end for human civilization, and it went viral. People Magazine captured Sheryl Sandberg’s date with her new boyfriend. Yahoo! Finance even showed Tim Cook shaking hands and taking selfies with Apple customers as he reopened his New York 5th Avenue store.

But while they don’t preclude successful leadership, magazine covers and Instagram followers aren’t the building blocks of effective CEOs. I would argue that the “CEOs of the Future”—the ones who will awe and inspire us—won’t necessarily be the ones trailed by paparazzi. While many executives today have reached celebrity status, thanks to the blurred lines between business, social media and entertainment, when the hype dies down, a CEO’s legacy is going to be determined not by fame, but by a different set of factors.

Having spent decades observing organizational behavior and change management issues, there seem to be certain characteristics of leaders that ultimately lead to solid organizational culture and success.

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