AETHOS Consulting Group Finds Hospitality CEOs Are Strong Generalists and Buck Society's Trend for Political Correctness

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In a unique analysis of standardized skills and competency assessment data tracked and collected from hospitality CEOs worldwide, AETHOS Consulting Group finds that hospitality CEOs tend to be strong generalists in their skill set and buck trend for PC.

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Effective CEOs are superstars precisely because they are not ‘one-trick ponies’; apparently they have a strong balance of skills that arguably make them flexible and adaptable.

In a unique analysis of standardized skills and competency assessment data tracked and collected from hospitality industry CEOs around the globe, AETHOS Consulting Group Managing Director James Houran, Ph.D. states that “surprisingly, contrary to the traditional belief that CEOs have a signature talent, like Steve Jobs or someone of that notoriety, our 20|20 Skills™ assessment with ten performance benchmarks show that CEOs in the hospitality industry tend to be strong generalists in their skill set.”

Houran goes on to explain that five out of ten CEO competency scores were above average (in the 76-77/100 range), compared to general industry norms. Two competency scores were average (75/100), and three were below average (72-73/100 scale), compared to general industry norms. “Interestingly, none of the above average scores reached the highest performance levels measured by the assessment.”

What does this mean? According to Houran, “Effective CEOs are superstars precisely because they are not ‘one-trick ponies’; apparently they have a strong balance of skills that arguably make them flexible and adaptable.”

AETHOS Consulting Group, the leading human capital advisory firm focused on the global hospitality sector, has tracked nearly 300 industry CEOs from around the world, over the course of the last five years, using a proprietary, industry-validated psychometric barometer. This assessment, 20|20 Skills™, was co-designed by Cornell University and measures ten core competencies spanning People, Execution and Cognitive Skills, on a 0-100 scale using the same validation and scoring statistics as in popular accreditation and achievement tests like the GRE, MCAT and LSAT. The higher the score, the greater the competency in that area of specialization. Outcome studies demonstrate that scores are highly predictive of performance in the hospitality industry.

During the process of updating the assessment norms, AETHOS Consulting Group discovered additional interesting trends:

  •     The CEOs in our industry, as a group, tend to be organized problem-solvers who exhibit strong leadership in the service of others. Rather than being rogue, reckless and out-of-touch authority figures, the aggregate profile revealed that CEOs in hospitality have above average scores on Ethical Awareness (77/100), Analytical Thinking (77/100), Transformational Leadership (76/100), Creativity (big picture and innovative thinking) (76/100), and Service Orientation (76/100).
  •     Hospitality CEOs buck society’s trend for being politically correct. The aggregate profile revealed tendencies for perfectionism and humility, as suggested by an average score on self-efficacy (75/100), and more notably, a below-average score on sensitivity to diversity (72/100), as compared to general industry norms.

“It seems that CEOs in hospitality naturally prefer to be direct and candid in their messaging,” stated Houran.

“CEOs in our industry score above average across the thinking and people skills categories,” adds Keith Kefgen, Managing Director and CEO of AETHOS Consulting Group. “But perhaps being too politically correct in communication with others may be a handicap in the business world.”

About 20|20 Assess℠: Proprietary to AETHOS Consulting Group, 20|20 Assess℠ is the suite of hospitality-specific HR and leadership software for performance management. The 20|20 Assess℠ surveys include: 20|20 Skills™ – a hospitality-specific competency assessment for use across the employment cycle and different employee levels; the online tool, available in nine languages, measures ten core competencies that predict performance in service-driven cultures; the 360 Review – an evaluation that compares an individual’s self-assessment to performance feedback from multiple sources, so that individuals can set goals for self-development to enhance their career and the organization; Customer Satisfaction Surveys – AETHOS Consulting Group can customize a survey that measures and leverages customer feedback based on the features and offerings that define your organization; and Employee Opinion Surveys – Engaged employees show significantly greater productivity, morale and retention. The industry-validated and benchmarked survey gauges integrity, partnership, entrepreneurship, service-branding and reality issues.

For more information about 20|20 Skills™ and how the 20|20 Assess℠ variety of surveys and assessments can help your hotel, restaurant, gaming, destination, or hospitality-focused organization with employee assessment, professional development, and culture enrichment, visit or contact Dr. Jim Houran at jhouran(at)aethoscg(dot)com.

About AETHOS Consulting Group: AETHOS Consulting Group is a human capital advisory firm focused on the hospitality sector, specializing in executive search and compensation consulting, culture creation and organizational effectiveness, as well as talent assessment and customer and employee opinion surveys. AETHOS consultants value and embody global citizenship, honesty and transparency, open-mindedness and flexibility, resilience, humility and leadership of others, collaboration and collective wisdom, innovation, hospitality, sustainability and meaning. For more information, please visit

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