Understanding the Mind and Psyche of a Successful CEO

The psyche of a CEO is, for many, hard to understand. Having worked in many leadership positions, and now as Infor CEO, Charles Phillips and his wife both understand this psyche like no other. Usually, CEOs want four very specific things, and they know how they can deliver that.

Understanding the Mind and Psyche of a Successful CEO

The Four Things All CEOs Want

In very simple terms, CEOs try to achieve:

  1. Advancement or achievement towards reaching their own goals.
  2. Advancement or achievement towards reaching the goals of the organization they had, which is often one of their personal goals as well.
  3. Admiration, respect, and validation of their personal achievements and talents, usually through the above two, but also through public recognition.
  4. A better work life balance, in which they can enjoy their personal hobbies and activities as well.

How Do CEOs Get What They Want?

  1. They start with a clearly defined plan. This lists what their objectives and goals are, both personally and professionally. In this plan, they highlight their own personal core competencies, and that of the business. It also includes the plans, initiatives, and strategies that are in place to make the vision a reality. This is not a complex plan, however, because it has to be understood by people all across the organization. Instead, it has a number of select metrics that are easy to measure.
  2. They get the right people. These people should be hard working and dedicated to the organization, but they should also be invested in. CEOs recognize talent and build on that. This goes beyond recruiting people; it is about measuring the return on investment that investing in staff can bring. Calculating this return on investment is more complex, as it must also include the salaries that are paid and usually includes some lengthy future forecasting.
  3. They get the right technology in place. A good CEO knows that achieving results can only be done if the right tools and resources are in place to do it. A surgeon, for instance, could have the very best training in the world, they still won’t be able to perform an operation without a scalpel. Technology is another significant investment, however, which means that a good CEO once again has to work out what the return on investment will be. Because technology develops at lightning speed, this is something that has to be reviewed and re-evaluated on a very regular basis.

A final thing to consider is that CEOs don’t get to the top on their own. Not only do they know they got there thanks to the hard work of their team, they also often get help. CEOs usually hire mentors and coaches, or other people who they find inspirational to help them reach their goals. Take Charles Phillips again, for instance, who often looks to his wife to receive a different perspective, a word of encouragement, or even a kick up the backside to make sure he can continue to achieve his overall goals.

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