Calling All Boards of Directors! The Men Who Should Be King
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 8:27PM
Mark Goulston

Inspired by Michal Lev-Ram's Fortune cover story, "Disney CEO Bob Iger's Empire of Tech" (you should read it)

One of your most important responsibilities to the companies whose boards you serve on is to make sure it has the best CEO.

If you agree, I think you need look no further than Tim Cook at Apple and Bob Iger at Disney.


They were both COO's and both thought to not have the creativity, chutzpah and or power to run companies successfully following Steve Jobs and Michael Eisner.

And since that worry came significantly from shareholders, it no doubt percolated up into your Board rooms.

Here are a dozen reasons I believe they have succeeded and may perhaps serve as models for your future CEO.

  1. They are mission driven rather than ego driven.
  2. They are able to take charge, without being controlling.
  3. They have sound judgment without being judgmental.
  4. They have strong and passionately held opinions without being opinionated.
  5. They don't need to be right as much as they need to discover what's right for their company.
  6. They are quicker to defend their company and their people than they are to defend themselves.
  7. They instill trust and respect without inciting "fear... and then loathing."
  8. They don't need to impress or wow others preferring to have their products, services, customers and people speak for themselves.
  9. They are more collaborative than competitive, more cooperative than combative and believe that 1 + 1 = 2; but 1 with 1 = infinity.
  10. They listen more than they talk.
  11. They know they are not the most creative or even smartest person in the room and therefore know they need to find and hire the best talent and then support those people to realize their talent.
  12. They may not be the most creative or smartest person in the room, but they are likely to be the wisest in that they know what's important and what's not and what's worth fighting for and what isn't.

Do you agree or disagree? What do you think has made them successful? What do you think makes for a successful CEO?

P.S. Something both Cook and Iger know that they both may have learned even more from Jobs was how important and critical "customer experience" is. They may have also learned from Jobs that when you "create gotta have it!" in your customers regarding your products, that crosses over into "gonna buy it!" And when that happens, you don't have to persuade or sell anyone, you just take sales orders.

Article originally appeared on Heartfelt Leadership (
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