Truth Is Just Perception

Emotions Play A Decisive Role In CEO’s Exercise Of Power

In his book “Only The Paranoid Survive” (review coming soon on Superception), former Intel boss Andy Grove, one of the most respected CEOs in the U.S. corporate history, discusses the role of emotions in the decision-making process of business leaders.

He notes, in particular, that “people who have no emotional stake in a decision can see what needs to be done sooner.” That’s why there is such a high turnover in the ranks of CEOs.

Most often, departing CEOs are replaced by outsiders. Grove suspect that the latters’ main asset is not to be more competent, but less engaged emotionally. They are able to address the company’s situation more objectively and make the necessary decisions faster. Therefore, if corporate leaders want to keep their job in difficult times, they must reach beyond their emotions.

Andy Grove - (CC) World Economic Forum

Andy Grove – (CC) World Economic Forum

More generally, Andy Grove emphasizes the role played by emotions in the way managers react to a crisis. Their personal identity is often inseparable from their work. Thus, when the business they are accountable for is undergoing upheavals, their objective analysis is often outweighed by their emotional reaction. This is especially true if their job is at stake.

According to Grove, the best leaders are not those who don’t experience any emotional reaction – they all do – but those who know how to overcome this reaction in order to quickly make the best rational decisions. Those who can’t are replaced by less emotionally invested outsiders.

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