CEO School pp 53-79 | Cite as

Class 5: Meta-Skills—a C, E and O Taxonomy

  • Stanislav Shekshnia
  • Kirill Kravchenko
  • Elin Williams


Those who aspire to reach the C-suite must use their experience to develop certain mental capabilities and patterns of behaviour. The main insight to take away from this class is that anyone can develop effective leadership practices well before they reach a senior leadership position. In fact, you do not even need to be a manager to hone the three essential CEO habits outlined in this chapter.

In CEO School, we group the key skills into C-thinking, E-acumen and O-learning. And our 20 co-authors insist on the importance of developing all three as early as possible. C-thinking involves an ability to see the wood from the trees and to master complex, critical, creative and constructive thinking. E(motional) acumen is first about recognising yourself as human (that is, with emotions and needs, such as the desire for respect and fairness) and regulating your behaviour to satisfy your emotions. Second, it’s about recognising that others are human too—and using the resulting insights to build and maintain the social relations that create value for the company: in short, empathy. O-learning combines openness to learning with its operationalisation and an ongoing determination to continue learning throughout life.


C-Thinking Development E-acumen Meta-skills O-learning 

Some Further Reading

  1. Bower, J. (2007) Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders. Harvard Business Review.Google Scholar
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  4. Finkelstein, S. & Hambrick, D. C. (1996) Strategic Leadership: Top Executives and Their Effects on Organizations. West Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  5. Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  6. Goleman, D. (2006) Social Intelligence: The New Science of Social Relationships, Bantam Books.Google Scholar
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  9. Hollenbeck, G., McCall, M. W., and Silzer, R. F. (2006). ‘Leadership Competency Models’. Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006): 398–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaplan, S. T, Klebanov, M. M. & Sorensen, M. (2012) Which CEO Characteristics and Abilities Matter? The Journal of Finance. Volume 67, Issue 3.Google Scholar
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  12. Kets de Vries, M. (2002) Can CEOs Change? Yes, But Only If They Want To. INSEAD Working Paper Series.Google Scholar
  13. Rotemberg, J. & Saloner, G. (1998) Visionaries, Managers, and Strategic Direction. Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  14. Senge, P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.Google Scholar
  15. Smits, J. S. & Ally, N. Z. (2003) “Thinking The Unthinkable” — Leadership’s Role In Creating Behavioral Readiness For Crisis Management. Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, Vol. 13 (1).Google Scholar
  16. Tappin, S., Cave, A. (2010) The New Secrets of CEOs: 200 Global Chief Executives on Leading.Google Scholar
  17. Wooten, L. P & James E. H. (2008) Linking Crisis Management and Leadership Competencies: The Role of Human Resource Development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 10 (3).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanislav Shekshnia
    • 1
  • Kirill Kravchenko
    • 2
  • Elin Williams
    • 3
  1. 1.INSEADFontainebleauFrance
  2. 2.Gubkin Oil and Gas UniversityMoscowRussia
  3. 3.OxfordUK

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