Magazine Article | August 1, 2023

In These Times Of Increasingly Unpredictable And Lurching Change, What Skills Will Separate Out Next-Gen CEOs?

Source: Life Science Leader

THE IMPACT OF NEXT-GEN CEOS IN HEALTHCARE IS ESPECIALLY PROFOUND, as this is the most complex sector among the 11 major sectors of the S&P. Healthcare and especially its core biopharma subsector are exposed to increasing unpredictability and “lurching change.” Not only is there increasing science risk and commercial risk, this sector continues to attract election cycle politics, which can create fast-moving and unpredictable outcomes. This is why the subject of next-gen CEOs is now being discussed with greater frequency. I, along with Accenture, have organized CEO forums for the last 10 years attended by dozens of large company CEOs. Here are some takeaways on the subject of next-gen CEOs:

  • Next-gen CEOs have the same strong business acumen and drive as other successful CEOs. Additionally, they work harder at enhancing soft skills, especially humility, self-awareness, curiosity, and connectivity. Their connectivity starts with the traditional connectivity to financial capital, and then also extends to human capital and to social capital.
  • Better soft skills for next-gen CEOs include: being less “I,” more “we”; speaking less and listening more; being more attuned; being more versatile; being strong team builders; and being not only culture shapers but also culture carriers. They generate resonance in getting their people to execute with passion, courage, and tenacity.
  • Next-gen CEOs work at becoming comfortable with team colleagues who make them uncomfortable by pushing them to get better every day.

In these disruptive times, next-gen CEOs are driving the rewriting of textbooks on leadership.

FRED HASSAN is managing director at Warburg Pincus.