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Communication key for CEOs

By Wright Communications - 9 June 2016
What makes a great CEO? Is it ambition, energy, knowledge or ruthlessness? As it turns out, communication is more important than all these attributes, particularly in New Zealand.

Workspace provider Regus recently conducted a global survey on what traits are most important for a modern business leader to have.

"Every company must stand for something. A company can grow big without losing the passion and personality that built it, but only if it's driven by values and by people.  The key is heart.  Yes the key is heart but the road to the heart runs through the head and storytelling is the vehicle to get there," Howard Schultz in The Storyteller's Secret by Carmine Gallo.

Regus found that good communication skills were regarded as the most important attribute globally, but even more so in New Zealand, where respondents rated this trait higher than in any other country surveyed.

Maria Popova: "A great storyteller helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great story invites an expansion of understanding, a self-transcendence." From Carmine Gallo's the Storyteller's Secret.

Commitment, honesty and ability to motivate people were the next three most important traits say Regus, while 'ruthlessness' was rated the least important trait by a considerable margin.

Here is a table showing how the traits were ranked:

Top traits for business leaders- Regus (NZ results)

Rank

Trait

Importance (1- Nice to have, 2- Important, 3- Essential)

1

Good communications

2.85

2

Commitment

2.73

3

Honesty

2.7

4

Ability to motivate people

2.7

5

Confidence

2.66

6

Ability to rapidly assess situations

2.49

7

Innovative thinking

2.42

8

High energy levels

2.33

9

Financial competence

2.25

10

Ambition

2.23

11

Persuasiveness

2.19

12

Ability to take risks

2.15

13

Technical product knowledge

1.86

14

Ruthlessness

1.34

www.regus.co.nz

What stands out about the survey is how "soft" skills rate so highly, while "hard" or more technical skills around competence are relegated to the bottom of the list.

"Successful organisations and companies share the stage with their best storytellers. Brands are a collection of narratives.  Unleash your best stories." - Zachery Meisel.

Being a good communicator is not a nice-to-have but a need-to-have in the modern corporate environment, due to several trends that have made the business world vastly different to what it was 10-20 years ago.

"Inspiring leaders tell personal stories to bring their vision to life.  They'll pour their hearts out because they know that a group of people who share a collective passion around a common purpose can accomplish anything." - Zachery Meisel.  "The storyteller taps into the experience or event that first sparked his or her mission and repeats the story over and over until it becomes part of the company's folklore."

Meisel believes successful leaders build an award-winning culture with stories that bring the company's purpose to life.  Publicly sharing those stories triggers a crusade.

Richard Branson: "The art of storytelling can be used to drive change."

Communication is becoming increasingly important with the exploding use of social media - getting the right information out into the public domain is even more important than ever.

Companies are subject to much greater public scrutiny so having the right communication is crucial to nullifying any misinformation.

Communication is also important in attracting future employees as nobody has a job for life these days and companies with the best public branding, profile and reputation will attract the best candidates to fill job vacancies.

Communication is essential to build reputation and trust as the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index has highlighted.

Photo: Alistair Davis, CEO of Toyota New Zealand engages employees during the 2016 Believe roadshow.

 

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