River Currents

5 Ways to Get the Most out of the CEO Evaluation Process

Posted by Michael Franklin on Jan 10, 2017 11:34:37 AM

On a high-level, the process for planning and evaluating CEO performance is relatively straight forward.

But what about the nuances that play a huge role in determining the value gained from the process?

How the performance expectations and evaluation criteria are set, assessment is completed, Board is engaged in discussing results, and how feedback is delivered and discussed with the CEO?

Here are five guiding principles for realizing the benefits of an effective CEO evaluation process.

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Topics: Advising CEOs

A “New Normal” for the C-Suite: Learning Agile Leaders

Posted by Peter Thies on Dec 6, 2016 11:38:08 AM

What are CEOs looking for in the next generation of C-Suite leaders?  

Let’s look at three real-world examples:

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Topics: Advising CEOs, Developing Leadership Teams

Grilled on the Hill: 3 Lessons from CEOs in the Hot Seat

Posted by Peter Thies on Sep 30, 2016 10:27:13 AM

The public grilling of CEOs on Capitol Hill that intensified last week came with the usual 24/7 media coverage. Media hosts and their guests evaluated the grilled CEOs on their performance in the hot seat. Opinionated pundits from all corners jumped on the bandwagon about heinous business practices and CEO greed. Consumer advocates, corporate governance experts, Washington insiders, business news stations and a growing cast of experts will no doubt continue to opine on what the CEOs did wrong.

I will not add to the grilling or apologize for the CEOs. Instead, I want to focus on what CEOs can learn from the high profile Capitol Hill Grillings of 2016: John Stumpf at Wells Fargo, Heather Bresch at Mylan, Michael Horn at Volkswagen of America, and Martin Shkreli at Turing Pharmaceuticals.

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Topics: Advising CEOs

Applying the KISS Principle to Executive Development

Posted by Peter Thies on Sep 13, 2016 4:10:37 PM

There’s an inherent paradox in the development of CEO succession candidates. On the one hand, the developmental degree of difficulty is high at the executive level. But at the same time, the capacity of top executives to invest in their professional development is inherently limited given the intense demands on their time. There are simply too many priorities, meetings, and initiatives to attend to.

So how do you help executives who can benefit from deep development insights, yet are trapped in the “ADD” world of today’s business climate?


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Topics: Advising CEOs, Growing Leaders

Making a Leader...Lessons from the Olympics

Posted by Ana Maria Sencovici on Aug 26, 2016 11:08:06 AM

It’s Olympics season, and performance is top of mind for everyone. It’s also a wonderful time to remember that the amazing athletes we are seeing train all the time, for a long time, to perfect their craft. Further, according to this Scientific American article, the right coach can make or break an athlete.

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Topics: Advising CEOs, Growing Leaders

High Energy in the Right Moments Can Inspire

Posted by Gavin Fenn-Smith on Aug 2, 2016 11:28:50 AM

For leaders, energy can be in short supply. Meetings all day. Team members who are energy-sapping. Events that drag on for longer than anticipated. Those leaders who can manage themselves, to maximize their moments of high-energy, will be at a great advantage. 

People seem to be attracted to vivacious people. Those with vigor, vim, zest. People who are enthusiastic, who have a certain dynamism. It’s as if they transmit their energy into you. 


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Topics: Advising CEOs

Advice from 75 CEOs on Aligning Leadership

Posted by Michael Franklin on Jun 7, 2016 11:02:22 AM

As a new CEO, within the first six months on the job, you are likely to get a deep appreciation of the extent to which leadership is a team sport. In our interviews with 75 CEOs across the world, The River Group found that what those chief executives loved most about their jobs was the power of creative expression—the ability to express themselves, almost like an artist. Those same CEOs also described having to come to grips with the myth of control—the reality that even though they held the most powerful role in the organization, their ability to control their company was limited. While they know it conceptually at the start of their tenures, there is a point at which it becomes abundantly apparent to new CEOs that they can’t "go it alone." Among other things, they recognize the extent to which they need a critical mass of leaders who share a common vision and who can engage the rest of the organization to realize that vision.

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Topics: Advising CEOs, Developing Leadership Teams

Advice for Rising to the Challenge of Becoming CEO

Posted by Sandy Lyons on May 12, 2016 4:57:53 PM

The experience of being a CEO for the first time comes with many challenges, the biggest perhaps is adjusting to the role itself. 

Our new study, Exchanges16 "Expect the Unexpected," explores the experiences of rookie CEOs. 

Based on in-depth conversations with 75 CEOs around the world, the findings capture what the CEOs wished they’d known before stepping into the role while also compiling their advice for those who are preparing for, or aspiring to take on, the role.

I invite you to download a copy of the report here.

Download Exchanges16 - Expect the Unexpected


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Topics: Advising CEOs

Remembering Andy Grove: A Perspective on Leadership, Innovation & Culture

Posted by Oliver Sommer on Mar 29, 2016 12:53:56 PM

Andy Grove’s passing last week has already elicited many tributes and rightfully so he lived a remarkable life—the early part was characterized by survival. In his words: “By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation…a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint… Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.” He went on to become Intel employee number three and eventually rose to become CEO and Chairman. His tenure as CEO was marked by unparalleled success for Intel characterized by a compound annual growth rate of almost 30% but also featured several near failures that Intel was able to overcome.

In the vernacular of The River Group, Andy Grove was someone “who got it.” He had the ability to blend his views on leadership, strategic planning and execution with a talent framework that enabled Intel to thrive during his tenure. Three particular aspects of his legacy—his personal leadership, focus on innovation, and Intel’s adaptive culture—provide a unique perspective on how he built one of the most successful companies in the world during his tenure.

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Topics: Advising CEOs, Growing Leaders

A Sports Coach and His Trusted Advisor

Posted by Gavin Fenn-Smith on Mar 17, 2016 12:04:56 PM

Pep Guardiola talks about his own trusted advisor, Manel Estiarte.

Extracted from "Pep Confidential," by Marti Perarnau, published in 2014 by Arena Sport. The book recounts Guardiola’s first season as head coach at Bayern Munich, after a wildly successful few years as coach of Barcelona.

Pep told me how important Estiarte is to him: Coaching a football team is a lonely job and that’s why I value loyalty above all else. When you hit the inevitable rough patch, you need to know who you can trust. 

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Topics: Advising CEOs