CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest

Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra. Scribner, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-1-982179-67-0

“The best CEOs create a game-changing vision for their company,” write Dewar, Keller, and Malhotra, all senior partners at management consultancy McKinsey, in their peppy debut. In setting out to identify “CEOs who moved the needle most,” the trio looked primarily at executives from the largest public companies with six or more years of experience who delivered returns to shareholders, then “opened the aperture” to include some women and minority CEOs who made an impact, as well. They interviewed each extensively, and surfaced six key responsibilities: “setting the direction, aligning the organization, mobilizing through leaders, engaging the board, connecting with stakeholders, and managing personal effectiveness.” The best CEOs, they write, keep their eye on all six. The survey’s strength is in its wealth of case studies—the authors cover successes and failures at such companies as Best Buy, Intuit, and Netflix, and outline how effective leaders have dealt with boards (adopting a mindset where “my role is to help directors help the business”), connected with stakeholders (understanding their “motivations, hopes, and fears” helps), and lived their “to-be”—in addition to their to-do—lists. Conversational and thoughtful, this survey will help struggling CEOs get back on track. Agent: Lynn Johnston, Lynn Johnston Literary. (Mar.)