I talked to 1000 CEOs of highly successful companies—and they all agree this is the No. 1 type of employee

As the host of the radio program “The CEO Show” for the last 15 years, I’ve interviewed over 1,000 top CEOs. These leaders come from different backgrounds and have run various companies, from Procter & Gamble to Dunkin’ Brands to LinkedIn. But they all agree on the No. 1 type of employee.

Based on my conversations, the most successful individuals who rise to the top are what CEOs call “transformative employees”—and they do four key things that help them transform the company and themselves.

1. They take on assignments that no one else wants.

Robert Sanchez was named CEO of Ryder System in 2013. Ryder System is a company worth billions of dollars that offers transportation and supply chain solutions. Sanchez has worked for the company for almost 30 years. He says that his success is due to his willingness to try new things, even if they aren’t in his area of expertise. This made him stand out among his friends.

During our interview, he told me, “I always took on new jobs.” “I became known as the “problem solver,” and job opportunities kept coming my way.”

Lori Fouche, who was CEO of both Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and Prudential Group Insurance, has a similar philosophy: “I always choose the harder task,” she said.

2. They learn from other fields and use what they’ve learned.
John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, agrees that curiosity is a good quality. He said, “I try to learn from everything and everyone I meet, even if it has nothing to do with my business.”

As CEO, Bill Roedy started from scratch to build MTV International. He said that his training at West Point and his time as an Air Defense Artillery officer helped him learn how to put together small, dedicated teams that could go to new countries and build MTV’s presence there.

My best advice for getting started is to keep track of all of your positive customer experiences.Find out what most impressed you. Ask yourself, “How can I apply this to my current job and industry?”

3. They get to practice listening.
Almost all of the CEOs I talked to said that being able to work well with others was one of the most important skills for an employee to have. But people can only work well together if they all know how to listen.

General Joe Robles used to be the CEO of USAA, which is one of the best companies in the U.S. for financial services.

“You learn how to listen in the military,” he said. “They don’t let you talk at the same time on the radio on purpose because you cut each other off.” What started out as a matter of strategy helped him become a better leader.

Even though you can’t stop someone from interrupting, you can use it as a chance to learn. When Doug Conant became CEO of Campbell Soup Company, he had to bring back a brand that was losing popularity.

He told me that good ideas could come from everywhere. So, instead of being upset, he said, “Every time someone interrupted me, I saw it as a good chance.” “I’d stop and focus, knowing that this was a big deal for them.”

4. Instead of showing a problem, they come up with solutions.
Every CEO I talked to has been in this situation: An employee comes to them with a problem and asks them how they should solve it.

Don’t act like that. Leaders value solutions. Instead of presenting a problem, say, “We have this problem, but I’ve been thinking about it, and here’s what I think we can do to solve it.

When you get new jobs, learn from people in other fields, and practice active listening, you’ll get better at solving problems and do it faster. You will become a transformative employee as a result.

Courtesy: CNBC Make It

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