Not all successful CEOs are extroverts - Part 2

June 23rd, 2006

(Below is from an article in USA today, June 7, 2006, by Del Jones.)

Typing test

Research on introverts and extroverts in leadership goes back at least to World War II and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, a personality test now given to about 2 million people a year.

Introverts are not shy by definition, but they become drained by social encounters and need time alone to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, are energized when with people and find time alone to be draining. Extroverts typically have many friends. Introverts prefer to know a few people well, which fits many CEOs who often say that it’s lonely at the top and that they confide in a small circle of friends.

It’s not fully understood why some people are introverts and others extroverts. The ratio is changing over time. CPP (formerly Consulting Psychologists Press) is the publisher of the Myers- Briggs assessment and has testing data going back 50 years. It plans to release research showing younger generations are becoming increasingly extroverted. Those born before 1964, including baby boomers, are split about 50-50 between introversion and extroversion, but 59% of Generation X (born 1965-81) are extroverted, as are 62% of Millennials (born after 1981).

Introversion might be partially explained by culture, genetics and upbringing. More men are introverts than women. Masatoshi Ono, who resigned as CEO of Bridgestone/Firestone during the tire scandal of 2000, lived in Nashville for seven years but was practically unknown even by neighbors when he returned to Japan. Avon Products CEO Andrea Jung told USA TODAY in a rare interview in 2000 that she is not shy, but grew up in a traditional Asian household and was, therefore, “reserved.”

Jim Collins, in his 2001 bestseller Good to Great, was one of the first to dispel conventional wisdom that successful leaders climb to the top because they’re naturally outgoing. He found that the most successful companies rarely had so-called celebrity CEOs, but rather had CEOs who were self-effacing and humble to a fault. Charisma was a handicap, he concluded.

A study of 2,300 people in 12 industries released last week by Cleveland human resources firm PsyMax Solutions looked at “sociability,” or the ability to relate to others in a “highly- engaging, expressive and lively style,” says PsyMax CEO Wayne Nemeroff. Extroverts would score high in sociability. “They’re almost the same thing,” Nemeroff says.

The median sociability score for division heads and vice presidents was 72.2, slightly higher than the median score for all workers. But sociability among the 242 CEOs was much lower at 57.9, suggesting that if sociability leads to early success, it may be an impediment to those trying to take the last step up the ladder, Nemeroff says.

A separate PsyMax study of 240 presidents, CEOs and chief operating officers found creativity to be the one trait most common to highly successful executives. Past research, not associated with PsyMax, has shown introverts to be among the most creative people.

The sociability study also found scores vary widely by industry. Those in the insurance industry scored a median 78.8. Those in research and scientific industries scored a median 18.4.

In just-published research in the Academy of Management Journal, lead author Brad Agle of the University of Pittsburgh uncovered little that would discourage introverts from aspirations of climbing to the top. The study followed 128 large companies for an average of 11 years and asked 770 top managers to rate their CEOs (some of whom are now former CEOs) on charisma. Among those examined were Dan Amos of Aflac, John Bogle of Vanguard, Paul Allaire of Xerox, Bill Marriott of Marriott, Christie Hefner of Playboy Enterprises, Robert Johnson of Black Entertainment Television, Wayne Huizenga of Blockbuster and Tony O’Reilly of H.J. Heinz. Confidentiality agreements prohibit Agle from saying which CEOs scored high in charisma. The study found that the charismatic CEOs make more money, but make no difference to corporate performance.

Charismatic and extroverted aren’t precise synonyms, but there is a close association, Agle says. “You don’t have to be this big, magnanimous, extroverted, charismatic CEO. I think my study is good news for introverts.”

However, an unscientific online survey by job site for USA TODAY of 1,542 senior-level managers making at least $100,000 a year found that only 6% think introverts make better CEOs, vs. 47% who say extroverts are better. A sizeable 47% say it makes no difference and that other factors matter more, but 65% say introversion is an impediment to climbing the ladder.

Shyness = wisdom?

In some organizations introverts might not rise because they are seen as uninspiring, but the same personality trait is embraced elsewhere as calm, unemotional and wise. Scherpenseel says he often stays quiet at meetings while others debate into exhaustion. When he finally weighs in, the room falls quiet with attention.

“Shyness, if you know how to use it, can masquerade as wisdom,” says executive coach Francie Dalton. Effective introverts can get away with saying little, but they must speak up at some point, she says.

Introverts aren’t necessarily reclusive. Vic Conant, CEO of motivational tape company Nightingale-Conant, says he’s an introvert who enjoys cocktail parties as long as he gets to be the person asking, not answering, questions.

Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli sounded energetic during an interview with USA TODAY last month. Does it come naturally? “You just kind of develop it over the years. I don’t think I was born this way,” Nardelli says. Is he an introvert? “Even if I said I was, the first person you asked would say no.”

Nardelli has dined with both Gates and Buffett and says he doubts if sitting home alone at night in Omaha reading annual reports is a sign that Buffett is an introvert. “I think he’s just a passionate businessman. I think Bill Gates is the same. He’s just a very enjoyable guy,” Nardelli says.

SkyeTec, in the business of evaluating homes and buildings for mold and water damage, was the fastest-growing private company in Jacksonville when it surged from $1.4million in revenue in 2003 to $7.2 million in 2004.

CEO Uhland says he brings a lot of energy to work and that most of SkyeTec’s 100 employees will be “baffled” to read that he is an introvert. “In meetings, I look at myself and say: ‘What are you doing?’ It’s not faking it. It’s a skill I’ve learned,” Uhland says in a phone interview from his car.

Given a choice, Uhland says he would prefer down time with his family. But he expects his receptionist to greet people with a smile even when she doesn’t feel like it. Likewise, he attends cocktail parties and does interviews out of a sense of duty.

“No offense,” he says, “but I’d rather be driving down the road listening to music.” — Contributing: Greg Farrell

Not all successful CEOs are extroverts - Part 1

June 21st, 2006

(This article is taken from USA Today, June 7, 2006, Del Jones.)

The following is a great article depicting Extroverts and Introverts and I think you will enjoy reading it. My Southwest pilot friend, Cathy, ISTJ, brought it to me and when I read it I called and thanked her profusely because the article gives a great illustration of the strengths and talents of Introverts. Introverts have gotten a “bad rap” over the years because they are viewed as being shy and that is not necessarily so. The information below clears this misconception up.

Chris Scherpenseel, president of Microsoft’s 140-employee FRx Software subsidiary, is an amateur astronomer. “I hate to call astronomers lonely, but most people don’t want to be up at 1 a.m. when it’s cold outside,” he says.

Alone is the way Scherpenseel likes it. So does his boss, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. But rather than being the exception, they have plenty of company among corporate brass in their preference for solitude.

It seems counter-intuitive, but introverts and closet introverts populate the highest corporate offices, so much so that four in 10 top executives test out to be introverts, a proportion only a little lower than the 50-50 split among the overall population age 40 and older.

There are many ingredients to success, and one of the most obvious has always been an outgoing, gregarious personality that lets fast risers stand out in a crowd of talent. But successful introverts seem to have mastered the ability to act like extroverts. Some liken it to an out-of-body experience that lets them watch themselves be temporarily unreserved. They remain introverts to the core, and if they don’t get down time alone or with family, they feel their energy being sapped.

The list of well-known corporate CEO introverts reads like a Who’s Who, starting with Gates, who has long been described as shy and unsocial, and who often goes off by himself to reflect. Others widely presumed to be introverts include Warren Buffett, Charles Schwab, movie magnate Steven Spielberg and Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes.

“I’ve always been shy,” Barnes told USA TODAY in an interview early this year at her Chicago office. She turns down most speeches and nearly all interview requests. “People wouldn’t call me that, but I am.”

Former Sun Microsystems executive Jim Green, now CEO of Composite Software, has jogged the streets solo from London to New Zealand to recharge. SkyeTec CEO Chris Uhland was at a wedding recently where he snuck off by himself to watch golf on TV. His wife was not happy. Patricia Copeland, wife of former Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CEO James Copeland, understands. She told USA TODAY three years ago that even at family get-togethers in Georgia, her husband will soon be found taking refuge in a book.

Copeland sent an e-mail of clarification last month from a ConocoPhillips board meeting in Houston. He says he is insecure in social settings, but enjoys other people when there’s a problem to be solved.

“I tried to deal with my weakness” by being active in such endeavors as the

United Way

, he wrote. That seemed to work, but throw Copeland into a cocktail party and watch him squirm. “In purely social events, I just toughed it out and did the best I could.”

Many CEOs rise from marketing and other arenas of extroversion. But they’re just as likely to come from the finance or information technology disciplines. The software industry might have the highest proportion of CEO introverts, starting with Gates, says astronomer hobbyist Scherpenseel, who began as a certified public accountant.

Introverts say they succeed because they have inner strength and think before they act. When faced with difficult decisions, introverts worry little about what other people will think of them, Uhland says.

Although reclusive by nature, shy CEOs seem to have been making more than their share of news lately. When USA TODAY ordered up handwriting analyses two years ago of CEOs facing criminal charges, three different experts called former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling an introvert and inhibited loner. The other former Enron CEO on trial, Ken Lay, was often seen making small talk with strangers in the courthouse hallways. But Skilling typically restricted himself to speaking to his wife or his lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, who in his closing argument last month called Skilling anti-social. A jury convicted Skilling and Lay of hiding Enron’s true financial condition from investors.

Another CEO to make headlines, William Swanson, says he was “extremely shy” when he first joined Raytheon as a young engineer. He rarely spoke at meetings, but rather scribbled notes of observations that he said led to his publishing decades later of Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management, a booklet recently discovered to be so plagiarized that the Raytheon board of directors denied him a pay raise.

Being a More Effective ISTJ

June 9th, 2006

In this ongoing series, we are discussing in-depth personality type strengths and weaknesses and how that type can be more effective in their interactions with others. This material is largely from the book, “YOU-Being More Effective In Your MBTI® Type.”

ISTJ’s like straightforward and direct information and find dealing with change a challenge. Following are suggestions that can ease this pain:

1. Tolerance Of Errors & Mistakes: Good advice for the ISTJ is when confronted with change, make a series of smaller decisions, get feedback, correct the course, get a little more data, move forward a little more, until the problem is under control. ISTJ’s push to “get it right” the first time. If they would start small with little decisions and take small actions as soon as possible, they can recover more quickly.

2. Perfectionism: Try to decrease need for more data and being always right until a more reasonable balance is reached between thinking it through and taking action. Try making small decisions without any data. Studies suggest successful general managers are about 65% correct. You don’t have to be completely accurate all of the time.

3. Solving Problems: What are the deep principles of what you’re working on? Search your business past and the historical past for parallels - not in parallel organizations, but ask a broader question that will aid in the search for solutions, such as “What are the deep principles of what we’re working on?” When Motorola wanted to find out how to process orders more quickly, they went to Domino’s Pizza and Federal Express, not other electronics firms.

4. Patterns. Look at successes and search for the underlying principles the success. Reduce your insights to principles that may be repeatable, and, then when faced with the next new problem, those general underlying principles will apply.

5. Completion: Recognize that many tasks may only ever get 80% done and change your internal process toward feeling good about fixing mistakes and moving things forward incrementally.

Next post, we’ll discuss how ISTJ’s can Show Compassion and Caring.

ISTJ - Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Thinking

June 1st, 2006

(Exercerpted from YOU - Being More Effective In Your MBTI® Type.)

11.6% of Population; 17% of Managers

Typical Strengths: Orderly, persevering, responsible, task oriented, honest, fair-minded and loyal, business oriented, interested in trends.

ISTJs seek precision and clarity in information - spoken or written and these two qualities promote a thorough and practical concentration on the task at hand. The Extraverted Thinking portion of their type causes them to appear as focused, orderly, critical and decisive people who trust facts and structure. Their Extraverted Feeling and Extraverted Intuiting often show in their sense of mission and the intensity they display when tackling problems. Unfortunately, these qualities are sometimes misinterpreted as demanding, rigid and stubborn.

Typical Communication Patterns

Carefully share tested and verifiable data.

Decisive, predictable and realistic in expression of information.

Logical, mater-of-fact and detailed presentation.

When overplayed, ISTJs may appear to be too mechanical and not take people’s needs into account.

General Learning Strategy

ISTJs usually learn best with clearly stated objectives and procedures; prefer to analyze, examine, and think it through before telling others.

Their preferred learning strategies are likely to be analyzing, identifying the facts first, label, then categorizing information.

Their learning is helped by clear directions, prework with “doing” activities included such as answering questions and engaging in some competitive challenge.

Interpersonal Qualities Related to Motivation

They generally attempt to motivate others with precise, accurate and timely information.

ISTJs are concise and analytical, figuring that logic and order will engage others.

Blind Spots

Others may see their deliberate analytical behavior as manipulating, demanding and impatient.

They can often be seen as pressuring and blunt.

Their commitment to careful precision is interpreted by some as guarded dogmatism.

Stress Related Behavior

As an initial response to stress, ISTJs usually increase their efforts at thorough methodical strategies. This can look exaggerated, that they insist on control and heavy conformance to expectations.

Under enough stress, their natural attention to precision can lead to anticipation of failure and seeing the incompetence of people and processes around them, for which they may find abundant evidence!

Potential Barriers to Effectiveness

Typical needs for ISTJs are to create a more developmental climate and express more compassion for those who work with them. Both of these can cause career stumbles.

Having a low tolerance for ambiguity, they may find it difficult to advance in organizations where teamwork orientation and strategic agility are essential.

(Note from Pam: All of us use the four functions - Intuitiion, Sensing, Thinking, Feeling - even though our type letters represent only two of them. Depending upon whether or not you’re energy is focused as an extravert or an introvert and whether you take action as judging or perceiving, determines the attitude and order in which we use these functions.)

On our next post we will discuss: Being a More Effective ISTJ

Understanding Your Type in Depth

May 26th, 2006

Welcome to our first post on The PEOPLE Process Blog. Our mission is to provide products that assist people to quickly and easily understand their own type, recognize someone else’s psychological type and relate to that person within their “comfort zone.”

We will take each of the 16 personality types as created by Dr. Carl Jung and examine the strengths/weaknesses, and how these areas can be improved. All of us want to live happier, more productive lives and relate easily and successfully to others. The information we will address in this Blog will be to that end.

We will begin with a terrific book that was published in 2005 called, YOU-Being More Effective In your MBTI®Type.

Authors: Roger Pearman, Michael Lombardo, Robet Eichinger, published 2005.

This is a very comprehensive book that contains the 16 personality types measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) tool and the 20 facets that underlie these types.

The reason this book is so unique is that it contains the only research that relates personality types to effectiveness data at work. MBTI® types are related to patterns from a variety of data bases, including from the Center for Creative Leadership. For each type, there are some likely strengths, some ways you may get into trouble, and what you can do about it.

The book is helpful for:

People who want to grow and enhance their skills.

HR professionals who want to be able to relate personal characteristics to skills and effectiveness.

Experienced MBTI® users - executive coaches, OD consultants, training and development professionals who want to relate type preference to increasing competence at work.

Within this Blog we’re going to review the book in detail, taking one personality type at a time and discussing the strengths and areas that are potential barriers to effectiveness based on the research within.