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Who's the best CEO, Ms. Inside or Ms. Outside? Actually, that may not be the right question

By | April 8 th,  2011 | Blog | 3 Comments


BNET's Sean Silverthorne has an intriguing post on a new study called "What Do CEOs Do?", spearheaded by Harvard researcher Rafaella Sadun. The study found that CEOs who spent the majority of their time with people inside the company were arguably more successful than top execs who dealt more with outsiders. The result, they say, is better profits, stronger governance and more productivity.

 

"The patterns we observe," researchers said, "are consistent with the hypothesis that time spent with outsiders is on average less beneficial to the firm and more beneficial to the CEO."

 

Furst Group president Sherrie Barch finds that a bit simplistic.

 

"Organizations go through seasons," she says. "If you're in a growth mode, for example, it might be more beneficial to concentrate on reaching outward to drive sales."

 

Similarly, "if you need to build efficiency and quality into your organization, or increase camaraderie and trust, you'll need internal focus," she added.

 

What's critical for the CEO in all of this, Barch says, is self-awareness.

 

"If my default is to be Mr. Outside, then I'm going to make sure I balance that by having key people on my leadership team who are more focused on the inside."

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