CEOs expected to show traits of corporate counterparts

New study by Russell Reynolds Associates shows successful association executives need to combine advocacy, business acumen

CEO Update | September 16, 2016

The CEO Update article, “CEOs expected to show traits of corporate counterparts,” featured our research, "Inside the Mind of the Trade Association Chief Executive Officer." It also quoted Russell Reynolds Associates' Stephanie Tomasso about the research findings. The article is excerpted below.

Access to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., is no longer enough for trade association CEOs: Successful executives increasingly demonstrate the abilities of corporate chieftains in areas like operations, strategy, creativity and decisiveness.

Such are the results of a new study entitled “Inside the Mind of the Trade Association Chief Executive Officer” by Russell Reynolds Associates, released first to CEO Update. Executive search consultant Stephanie Tomasso, who heads the firm’s trade and professional association practice, led the study. Findings confirmed trends the firm’s recruiters had been seeing.

“One of the things we’ve noticed anecdotally in the last five to seven years is that a lot of our trade association clients are looking to bring in senior leadership talent that can go beyond access and influence,” Tomasso said.

“They want folks who can bring more of a substantive approach, who can think about how to tackle business challenges that the association itself or member companies might be facing. We’ve seen a shift toward hiring individuals who can juggle the two roles.”

The study is based on psychometric testing of 14 prominent trade association executives—Tomasso declined to identify them—with the results benchmarked against the firm’s data on successful corporate executives.

The report showed that trade association executives score higher than their corporate counterparts in collaboration and diplomatic skills—traits that are necessary to deal with the demands of various constituencies and to build consensus.

To read the full article, click here.

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CEOs expected to show traits of corporate counterparts