Business Chemistry in the C-suite

We’re not all the same. Four types of executives.

In a new report titled, “Business Chemistry in the C-suite,” researchers from the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience team surveyed 661 C-suite executives and found that two of the four primary Business Chemistry types account for nearly two-thirds of the sample.

  • Pioneers, who value possibilities and spark creativity, comprise 36 percent
  • Drivers, who value challenge and generate momentum, make up 29 percent
  • Guardians, who value stability and bring order, represent 18 percent
  • Integrators, who value connection and draw teams together, represent 17 percent

These executives are more likely to be energetic, big picture thinkers who are comfortable with ambiguity, and at the same time, tend to take more quantitative approaches1. They’re more competitive and willing to address conflict. And, they tend to make decisions more quickly, without worrying about the popularity of those decisions. There seems to be a sort of toughness about these CxOs and a tendency to not sweat the small stuff.

However, there are also many ways in which CxOs are similar to those in the general business population. The research suggests that compared to the typical professional, those in C-suite roles are not more (or less) disciplined, punctual, or practical. They don’t place a different level of priority on relationships or building a network, or feel a different level of duty to society. They’re neither more nor less imaginative, interested in exploring new things, or fond of experimenting with novel ideas. And they don’t have differing comfort levels with expressiveness, nor do they place different levels of value on composure.

We offer recommendations for leaders and those who work with them

A primary tenet of Business Chemistry is that varying approaches will work to bring out the best in the different Business Chemistry types. Download the full report to learn more about recommendations based on the findings in this study for current leaders, aspirational leaders, and for those who work with CxOs, including the following segments:

  • For current leaders, learn more about identifying disparate work styles on your teams and actively managing differences to benefit the organization. Explore insights on the role of opposites, why it’s important to elevate minority team perspectives, and take note of more introverted and sensitive team members. Read more in the recent Harvard Business Review article “The new science of team chemistry.”
  • For those who are not currently leading, regardless of whether you aspire to the C-suite or have other aspirations, find out how you might flex your style to help achieve your objectives with those who have different working styles.

We’re not all the same. Of course that’s part of the point of Business Chemistry and the beauty of working with others. It sometimes takes a little extra effort, but by bringing together people with diverse perspectives we can do more together than we might by sticking with those of our own type. As Einstein once said: “When we all think alike, no one thinks very much.”

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