Heidrick & Struggles: How CEOs Manage Doubt
Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles’ Board Practice in North America, writes this interesting article on the presence of doubt in the mind of CEOs, and how they handle that doubt to make effective, timely, and considered decisions.
’The overwhelming majority of CEOs confess that they have doubts. That’s one of the striking findings of The CEO Report, the product of a yearlong global research partnership between Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and Heidrick & Struggles. Of the more than 150 CEOs who sat down with us for confidential, in-depth interviews, 71 percent not only admit to doubt but also embrace it as a basis for better decisions.
“If you don’t doubt yourself in a constructive, positive way,” said one participant, “you are borderline dangerous for your company.”
Doubt is a challenge of both knowledge and emotion. Knowledge can fall anywhere on a continuum from full not knowing to full knowledge. Feelings of doubt can fall anywhere between anxiety and fearlessness. How much knowledge do you have when you face a difficult decision? How anxious do you feel? How might you use your uncertainty as a tool?’