Jack Farnan, Human Resources vice president for HM Electronics in Poway, learned an important lesson about managing change in an unlikely place – the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama high in the Himalayas.
An avid mountain climber, Farnan was on his way to an ascent in Ladakh when he had a chance to spend time with thousands of Buddhists who had come to hear the Dalai Lama teach at a monastery in northernmost India, a refuge in exile from his historic home in Tibet now under Chinese control.
The Dalai Lama places a premium on the “importance of personal change in the world,” Farnan said, and that is a message that can – and should resonate – with the chief executive officers charged with bringing change to their organizations.
Farnan, who has 25 years of experience in identifying and developing executive talent, laid out seven key characteristics of a successful CEO in a presentation to members and guests of Sage Executive Group, a premier peer advisory group based in San Diego. Farnan is currently VP of Human Resources at HM Electronics, a global company that designs and manufactures wireless communication products.
His conclusions are based on research on the requisite skill sets for CEOs to survive and prosper.
Most important, Farnan said, is that top leaders are decisive. Research shows that CEOs with this one trait “were 12 times more likely to succeed.” The components of success then flow from the ability to understand how “personal change” is translated into the workplace. Critical characteristics of these top leaders are:
- They are decisive.
- They engage for impact.
- They adapt proactively.
- They deliver reliably.
- They hold themselves and others accountable.
- They are Level 5 leaders.
- They have a growth mindset.
Farnan said that ultimately successful leaders lead by example, and “we can do so much with just changing ourselves.”