Most business leaders can take only so much pressure before their performance slides. Yet some CEOs deliver their greatest successes when times get toughestwhen customers’ preferences are shifting away from a company’s products, when new regulations are shrinking profit margins, when political unrest is destroying supply lines.
In Better Under Pressure, Justin Menkes reveals the common traits that make these leaders successful. Drawing on in-depth interviews with sixty CEOs from an array of industries and performance data from two hundred other leaders, Menkes shows that great executives strive relentlessly to maximize their own potentialas well as stoke their people’s innate thirst for their own triumphs. To do so, they draw on a set of three essential and rare attributes:
Realistic optimism: They recognize the risks threatening their organization’s survivaland their own failingswhile remaining confident in their ability to have an impact.
Subservience to purpose: They dedicate themselves to pursuing a noble cause and win their team’s commitment to that cause.
Finding order in chaos: They find clarity amid the many variables affecting their business by culling data and forming the conclusions that matter most to the company.
The good news: these three capabilities can be learned. Drawing on a broad range of examples from real companiesincluding Avon, Yum Brands, Southwest, Procter & Gamble, and Ryerson Steel, to name just a fewMenkes demonstrates how each psychological attribute manifests itself in real life and enables top performance under extreme duress. He also shows you how to develop and deploy those attributesso you can transform yourself into a leader who only shines brighter as the pressure intensifies.
Deeply personal, brimming with compelling stories from real-life CEOs, and packed with powerful insights, tools, and practices, this book is a potent resource for aspiring, emerging, and seasoned business leaders alike.
About Justin Menkes
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Published April 19, 2011
by Harvard Business Review Press.
Business & Economics.