What does CEO stand for?

Chief Executive Officer. It might only be three words, but these individuals play a massive role in the success of businesses across the breadth of Australia.

Creativity is a leadership trait that all CEOs should be seekingTasked with keeping customers, employees, boards, stakeholders and regulatory bodies, CEOs must be many things to many people. However, this is all part of the juggling act for CEOs who have to craft their own leadership style and traits to meet the requirements of a business.

As such, the qualities and traits shown by a CEO in the early 2000s, could be completely different to the demands of a business in 2015. Trends shift so CEOs must always be looking to improve their own performance.

Are you creative enough as a CEO?

In 2010, IBM conducted 1,500 interviews with CEOs around the world. Encapsulating both corporate heads and public sector leaders in 33 industries and 60 nations, the survey highlighted what the most important traits were for CEOs.

While it might not come as a surprise, creativity was the most common response – as 60 per cent of CEOs noted this was the most important leadership quality to hold in the coming years. This was followed by integrity (52 per cent), global thinking (35 per cent), influence (30 per cent) and openness (28 per cent).

At the time, a manager at IBM Global Business Services Steven Tomasco said he was stunned at the result. He stated that it was “very interesting that coming off the worst economic conditions they’d ever seen, [CEOs] didn’t fall back on management discipline, existing best practices, rigour, or operations. In fact, they [did] just the opposite.”

Taking on more creativity

As the visionary light for the business, CEOs have to set the tone and vision. However, as the competitive landscape of corporate Australia strengthens, creativity will play a much bigger role on the agenda of CEOs.

Companies are being forced to blow up their traditional processes and reinvent themselves as more agile organisations.

This was recently the subject of Microsoft Australia’s premiere episode of Modern Workplace. In the show, author Ekaterina Walter highlighted that many Fortune 500 businesses only dominate markets for around 15 years – compared to the 70 in the past.

“Companies are being forced to blow up their traditional processes and reinvent themselves as more agile organisations. And those that don’t adapt? Well, they risk being left behind or in some cases, failing completely,” Microsoft said in a statement.

While the ‘C’ in CEO isn’t going to change to mean ‘creative’ anytime soon, it is something that all CEOs will have to think about in more depth moving forward.