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How CEOs Can Perform Optimally



As the U.S. economy is apparently showing signs of recovery, boards are gearing up for evaluating short term CEO performance. “Just after the fall of Lehman Brothers and AIG bankruptcy, boards asked CEOs to hunker down and conserve cash. Now that stability has apparently been achieved in the global economy, the pressure from boards of directors for short term performance is unrelenting,” says Edelman.

Writing for his blog – 6 A.M– Richard Edelman, CEO and President of Edelman, an independent global PR firm, believes, CEOs who can communicate effectively and maintain good relations with their employees and customers can deliver better. “Communicate, communicate even more,” he says quoting Heidrick & Struggles CEO Kevin Kelly.

Commenting on Kevin Kelly’s soon to be released book ‘Leading in Turbulent Times,’ Edelman believes in order to achieve optimal performance, CEOs must be visible to their employees, customers and investors; they should know how to utilize their soft skills and not just the hard ones. “Learn how to be soft in hard times. Top performing CEOs have high emotional quotient, not just superb intelligence,” Edelman remarks.

Kevin Kelly suggests a four point approach to optimal performance and believes effective communication leads to better performance. Quoting Kelly, Edelman feels CEOs should start thinking on a long term basis. “CEOs should invest in research, top talent and new products as part of their long term strategy.”

Interestingly, a new study by Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate ethics and Arthur W. Page Society, a NY based society of PR professionals, also shares common ground with Kelly’s book. The study called as The Dynamics of Public Trust in Business – Emerging Opportunities for Leaders, believes that distrust in business is negatively affecting companies across industries.

To build and sustain trust at the most basic level, a business must manufacture and market quality products or services that are reasonably priced; provide steady jobs in safe and healthy environments; support community institutions serving employees and customers; and provide shareowners with a reasonable return on their investments, the study says.

Beyond the fundamentals, the report also recommends concrete actions that business leaders can take with respect to building mutuality, balancing power, and creating trust safeguards. Create a set of values that define and clarify what your enterprise and its people are at root, and work to ensure that these values are adhered to consistently across your enterprise, the study notes.

Additionally, the report also advocates building strong relationships based on mutual trust with mediating institutions, while embracing transparency. “Work within your business sector to build trust in the sector. Re-invest in the trustworthiness of your firm by making a commitment to enhance the core contribution that the firm makes to society,” the study reiterates.

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About fayazuddin a. shirazi