Here’s what it takes to be a great CEO
Here’s what it takes to be a great CEO

We asked Doug Kushell, the president and founder of Franchise Search, to reveal the top traits to look out for when on the hunt for the next great CEO.

Becoming a CEO is the greatest leap that an executive can make in his or her career. What makes it such an extraordinary transition, of course, is the complexity of the role and the skill that is required to manage that complexity successfully. So, what exactly do CEOs have that other leaders don’t?

1851 Franchise spoke to Doug Kushell, the president and founder of Franchise Search, one of the franchise industry’s premier recruiting firms. Since the brand’s inception in 1983, Kushell has helped to place more than 30 CEOs with top brands. Whether you’re a small or large franchise, new or established, Kushell believes that these are the top traits to consider when on the hunt for the next great CEO to drive your company to success.

1. Great CEOs are strategic about achieving exceptional results.

“Over the years, we’ve learned that it’s so important to provide the management team with a very clear job description, which permits them to be 100 percent clear on what their goals are. When you bring a CEO on board that’s a strategic thinker, creative problem solver and a true visionary, they’ll be able to look at that job description and set off on a path to make things happen,” Kushell said. “Great CEOs know what to do and how to do it. He or she is able to look right, look left, and look out over time to see the moves and countermoves of the competition and react accordingly.”

2. Great CEOs know how to develop and inspire their team.

“Successful CEOs are incredible developers of people. CEOs like to surround themselves with very talented individuals. Then, once they have that strong team, they give them the resources, freedom and encouragement they need to go out and perform,” Kushell said. “There has been much more success in terms of CEOs who let their talented management team perform as opposed to feeling the need to constantly micro-manage them. It’s about trusting the team that you put in place to get the job done.”

3. Great CEOs nurture their top talent.

“When a CEO recognizes talented, loyal employees, it’s so important that they hold on to them. One way to do this is by creating a rewarding work culture. For example, consider introducing more flexibility to schedules or provide perks like fitness memberships. They’re little thing, but they are extremely important,” Kushell said. “It’s also important to keep your top talent motivated, otherwise, they’re going to fall flat. To motivate them, give them challenging work, recognize and reward them for their outstanding achievements, give them the resources they need to do their jobs and treat them fairly.”

4. Great CEOs hold themselves accountable.

“An effective CEO knows what they’re good at—they also know when to call on others to keep them in check,” Kushell said. “One way this works is by introducing a board of directors. These people would be in a position to make sure the CEO is on course with the goals and objectives that have been identified with the company. In essence, the CEO is accountable to the board of directors.”

5. Great CEOs get their hands dirty.

“These CEOs are with employees in the field closing the big sales or figuring out why the company lost one. They are right there, balancing priorities and inspiring their team to help win the next opportunity. They are calling their list of contacts for a partnership or connection. They are also quick to sort out mistakes without placing blame so that success may be achieved the next time.”