IBM CEO Study Concludes: Outperformers are at Tribal Leadership Stage Four

IBM conducted more than 1,700 in-depth, face-to-face interviews with CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders from around the globe. This 2012 CEO Study, the largest of its type ever undertaken, explores how CEOs are responding to the complexity of increasingly interconnected organizations, markets, societies and governments.

One key finding: “CEOs believe their organizations will be impacted more by the pressure to be open than the need to control.

In our Tribal Leadership research (a 12 year study of over 24,000 people published as the book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization) we would categorize this type of culture as Stage Four. And the way to move to Stage Four is by giving up control.

So, it does not surprise me to see that this study found that this emphasis on openness is 30% higher among outperformers.

The other hallmarks of a Stage Four culture are organizations that live by their core values and have a higher sense of purpose or what we call, a Noble Cause. This also came out in the IBM study:

“CEOs recognize the need for organizational values and a clear sense of purpose to guide decisions and actions as some formal controls loosen. Clearly, openness increases vulnerability. The Internet — especially through social networks — can provide a worldwide stage to any employee interaction, positive or negative. For organizations to operate effectively in this environment, employees must internalize and embody the organization’s values and mission.”

“It is important for employees to see the company’s values as a reflection of their own. Values are at the core of the social contract between company and employee.”

Wichian Mektrakarn, CEO, AIS

You can get a copy of this IBM study here.