Electing the Next President of USA, Inc.

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With Primaries in Full Swing, DDI survey finds that CEOs think President Should Run Country Like a Business

Running the country is similar to running a large company

Should the next US president be more like the CEO of a major corporation? Yes, according to a survey conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI). More than two-thirds of top executives (67%) concluded that the United States should be run like a business, and 85 percent said the President of the US should have the same skills as corporate CEOs.

DDI, a global human resources consulting firm, asked more than 500 senior corporate executives about the leadership traits for the next president.

“This is the greatest leadership job in the world,” said Rich Wellins, senior vice president of DDI. “CEOs understand what is required of a leader, and they’re going to look for these traits in a candidate when they’re casting their votes.”

When asked to identify the key attributes the CEO of the United States should have in order to be successful, the top responses were:

  •     Courage to make major changes (51%)
  •     Ability to make things happen (49%)
  •     Skills to develop a strong leadership team (32%)

“In essence, CEOs are looking for change. They are fed up with the status quo. And they want a president who can ‘execute’ and build a strong top team.” Wellins said. “Sounds like what it takes to run a great business, doesn’t it?”

What was at the bottom of the list? Respondents rated entrepreneurship, executive presence and learning orientation as the least important traits.

But as important as they consider leadership to be for this office, executives still said they would vote on candidates’ positions on issues (60%) before leadership traits and abilities (28%). But CEOs rated leadership higher than party affiliation (8%) or previous political experience (5%), which were far less deciding factors.

“Running the country is similar to running a large company,” one respondent wrote. “You need vision, a budget to complete the task and the right people to make it happen.”

The survey was conducted in 2008 during the Presidential primaries with 557 corporate CEOs, presidents, managing directors and managing partners from US companies of all sizes.

About DDI
Founded in 1970, Development Dimensions International, a global human resources consulting firm, helps organizations close the gap between today’s talent capability and future talent needs. DDI’s expertise includes designing and implementing selection systems, and identifying and developing front-line to executive leadership talent. With more than 1,000 associates in 75 offices in 26 countries, the firm advises half of the Fortune 500. For more information about DDI visit http://www.ddiworld.com/aboutddi.

Jennifer Pesci-Kelly

Rachel Schulman


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