The CEO Next Door Book Summary - The CEO Next Door Book explained in key points
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The CEO Next Door summary

Elena Botelho and Kim Powell

The Four Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People Into World-Class Leaders

4.3 (173 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The CEO Next Door by Elena Botelho and Kim Powell shares insights gathered from studying thousands of successful CEOs. The book reveals the common traits and habits of top CEOs and provides practical advice for aspiring leaders.

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    The CEO Next Door
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    CEOs aren’t born, they’re made.

    Many of us believe that CEOs are somehow special and entirely different from the average employee. Furthermore, we believe that wealthy parents or exceptional intelligence is necessary to run a large company. However, the ghSMART project, which the authors were involved in, surveyed over 2,600 CEOs and what they found contradicts these beliefs.

    The majority of CEOs are just regular people who have developed leadership qualities over the course of their career.

    More than 70 percent of the CEOs surveyed claimed that they had no intention of becoming a CEO when they first started working.

    Let’s take Don Slager, for example. At the time of writing, Slager is the CEO of Republic Services, a $9 billion company and one of the top-500 wealthiest companies in the United States as rated by Fortune magazine. He never went to college but was ranked the number one CEO in the United States by the website Glassdoor. In fact, he started out as a garbageman for the company. By working his way up the ranks, Slager eventually became the head of one of the most well-known companies in the American waste-services industry. It was his knowledge of and familiarity with the general public, as well as the insights he’d gained from working in all areas of the company, that made Slager the best candidate for CEO.

    What’s more, the survey showed that you don’t need to be a genius to become a CEO.

    Indeed, those who put forth complicated ideas or use long words are typically viewed as bad CEOs. Moreover, they’re less likely to be hired at all. To give you some stats – only seven percent of CEOs graduated from an Ivy League school. Though Fortune 500 companies usually have Ivy League graduates among their leaders, the smaller, less-known firms don’t. But Ivy League schools aside, consider this: like Don Slager, eight percent of CEOs have never attended any college, so, clearly, lacking a formal higher-level education is no hindrance.

    You also don’t need to be an exceptionally outspoken person to be a CEO. Egoistic people make the worst CEOs since they’re too focused on their individual success. And, in fact, 30 percent of CEOs are introverts.

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    What is The CEO Next Door about?

    The CEO Next Door (2017) takes a look at what separates a good CEO from a great one. Backed up by extensive research headed by the authors, it proposes that ordinary people can become leaders of large, successful companies, and details the steps involved in climbing that corporate ladder.

    Best quote from The CEO Next Door

    Top CEOs spend as much as 40 percent of their time hunting future trends.

    —Elena Botelho and Kim Powell
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    Who should read The CEO Next Door?

    • Anyone with aspirations to become a CEO
    • Leaders who want to improve their management skills
    • Entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to run a business

    About the Author

    Elena Botelho and Kim Powell both have backgrounds in business, which led them to work on ghSMART, the biggest-ever study on the personality and mentality of world business leaders. Botelho and Powell also advise leading CEOs and senior executives.

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