Want a successful CEO? Take an IQ test


Overall, the foundation can – and should – be tested.

“The big mistake is that [directors] it is enough to assume the foundations. I literally asked an evaluation manager to tell me, “Oh, we don’t test the cognitive skills of senior managers because if they’re senior, we just think they’re smart,” he says. .

“The idea is that because [the candidates] are so old that you couldn’t ask them to do something as awkward as a test, let alone do it so that they can’t have three assistants behind them like they do at home .

“The board basically doesn’t know how to go about this process.

The biggest predictor of a person’s success in a leadership role is IQ, says Campbell. “And to assume that because someone presents well that they are smart is a big mistake,” he says.

Campbell and his colleagues, including Peter Young, director of the Garvan Medical Research Foundation and former director of publisher BOSS Fairfax Media, say testing the five basic traits would go a long way in improving a senior executive’s chances of success.

The chances of success, they add, are dire. Global studies have shown that between 30 and 40 percent of CEOs fail in the first three years, and 50 percent of leaders are incompetent, Adelante says.

These are numbers that a lot of companies don’t want to hear. “They just wanna pretend it doesn’t happen [in Australia]. “

Intelligence can be measured using IQ tests, while humility and curiosity, along with related basic traits such as authenticity, listening skills, openness and pragmatism, can be measured using psychometric tests.

Health and energy levels can also be tested, but Campbell admits integrity is difficult to assess.

This partly explains why internal candidates tend to have higher success rates than external recruits at the CEO level. If an executive has worked in a company for many years, the board of directors has likely had enough time to comment on their ethical behavior.

Campbell says testing should start early in an effort to identify key talent. This could be done at the recruiting level and again when individuals are around 30 years old. The test results could then be transferable.

“I’m sure someone could do the tests at 30, and 20 years later you could ask for a copy of those tests and that wouldn’t have changed much,” he says.

Psychometric tests

Not everyone agrees. An executive recruiter doubts people are fully trained in areas such as humility when they are 30, arguing that certain traits are developed through experience and unfavorable life events. The recruiter, who asked not to be identified, also says the smartest people don’t necessarily make the best leaders.

Guy Farrow, Managing Partner of Executive Search Firm Heidrick & Struggles in Sydney, says psychometric testing is a useful data point, but insufficient on its own. “You have to understand how people use their intellect, use their moral compass, and take advantage of their personal characteristics. “

This can be gleaned from in-depth interviews and formal and informal reference checks.

Tim Sleep, managing director of research firm Odgers Berndtson in Australia and New Zealand, says an individual’s ability to do the job “has to be learned.” Psychometric testing is helpful, but Sleep says it’s flawed science because results can vary depending on an individual’s mood.

One of the most important things is to understand what kind of leader a candidate is. This can be done through reference checks, but more importantly, it should be assessed by talking to former subordinates and colleagues to understand the candidate’s impact on an organization and on teams.

“One thing we suggest is… talk to people who have worked for [the candidate], says Sleep. “You want to know more about the culture and the environment they created. You want to know if this is a genuine, vulnerable leader that people want to give that extra 20% to. “

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