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It’s increasingly tough to stay at the top of the business world in America.The average tenure for a CEO been steadily shrinking, and two out of every five CEOs is now ousted in the first 18 months.
The Wall Street Journal just conducted a study of CEOs who manage to defy the odds. They looked at 28 top executives who had been with their companies for more than 15 years.
A few lessons stand out:
- Take care of your staff: Peter J. Rose, head of Expeditors International of Washington Inc., was the top performer in the group. He attributes his long stay to profit sharing and stock options for employees. “You take care of employees. They take care of customers. And that takes care of Wall Street,” Rose told the Journal.
- Collaborate with others: Communication and cooperation have been the keys for Daniel Amos, the 18-year veteran in charge of Aflac. He brings board members in to help him craft his yearly strategy and edit a book of goals, a tactic that ensures the folks who can end your job have “bought into your strategy.”
- Take responsibility, and provide a solution: Henri A. Termeer, the long-time head of Genzyme Corp, says CEOs need long-term goals to achieve long-lasting careers. His focus on research and development has helped his firm to outperform the market since going public in 1986. When things went badly, last year and Termeer was faced with the closure of the company’s flagship plant, he “saved his job by standing up at a December board meeting, taking responsibility for the problems and describing detailed corrective steps for 45 minutes,” a director told the WSJ.
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