Intensity, a focus on core issues and the ability to be open-minded enough to know what they don’t know—these are some of the key attributes that separate best-in-class CEOs from the rest of the pack, according to a recent analysis.

Russell Reynolds Associates, in partnership with Hogan Assessment Systems, identified three ways successful CEOs stand out from their peers:

  • They show a greater sense of purpose and demonstrate passion and urgency. These traits often manifest as intensity, impatience and an eagerness to move forward as well as a strong sense of ownership and immersion in activities.
  • They value substance and going straight to the core of the issue. They have an ability to rise above the details and understand the larger picture and context—to “separate the signal from the noise.” Great CEOs have a knack for determining the most significant issues, challenges, threats and opportunities facing an organization.
  • They have a greater focus on the organization, results and others than on themselves. They “know what they don’t know” and have an ability to be open-minded, seek additional information and actively learn. They work collaboratively and believe that the best idea wins, even if it is not their own.

(For the full article, see “How the Best CEOs Differ From Average Ones,” Harvard Business Review, Nov. 15, 2016.)