Lead With A Higher Purpose: Here’s What Sets The Best CEOs Apart

the big three at the tehran conference

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Is there such a thing as a consistent pattern of successful global leadership?To answer this question, during the last few years, we have met with about 30 CEOs who pass two critical tests for succeeding globally: (1) they have outperformed most of their industry peers and they have gained respect from their stakeholders in multiple ways; and (2) they lead companies originating from different cultures and successfully operate across the globe. Despite the differences in culture and mindset, our research suggests that these global leaders — whether they are from North America, Europe or India — seem to lead their companies differently than their peers. Most strikingly, they pioneer a leadership style which engages people in very different settings. For example, they put immense emphasis on:

• A higher purpose — These leaders make people feel emotionally engaged and inspire them to walk the extra mile. The company has to mean something to people rather than just being a place to work. This is probably especially important if the company centre and the local offices are far apart. An example: When Jorma Ollila of Nokia describes their purpose as connecting people, it applies to the local office in Kenya just as it does to the head office in Espoo, Finland.

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This post originally appeared at Harvard Business Review.