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3 Top Demands of CEOs from their Board Members Some May Surprise You

As we work with CEOs and Boards of Directors at many different companies, we are starting to see some changes in what Boards demand from their CEOs.  Some of the things we see are pretty standard (Corporate Strategy) but some of the things are less traditional in terms of what CEOs in the past were most responsible for.  Lately, our clients’ Boards are holding CEOs primarily responsible for three items, those they feel have the greatest impact on their organizations.

  1. Strategy – First and foremost, there is always strategy, competitive strategy, and the organizational strategy to deliver on the value proposition that the competitive strategy is designed to achieve while growing market share and favorably positioning the organization against its competitors.  Being responsible for the overall corporate strategy, is not a surprise to any CEO.  However, understanding and driving the implementation of that strategy has become the foundation for the other two items we see CEOs both being held responsible for and often coming up short in their performance.
  2. Human Capital Management – Here, the challenge is to create an ongoing organization that has the capability and capacity to survive the CEO and other senior leaders, and achieve outstanding performance and financial returns.  Human Capital Management is about creating the employee brand, experience and organizational performance which drives any organization to sustainable success.  To read more about Endeavor’s Human Capital Solutions please visit
  3. Organizational Culture – When we speak of Organizational Culture, and yes, I can imagine eyes rolling back inside your  heads – because culture has become a manageable asset that very few CEOs know how to manage;  organizational culture is the definition and communication of the organization’s priorities, leadership behavioral standards, communication methods, ethics, attitudes towards their customers, attitudes towards their employees, their focus on quality and safety, their focus on environmental and community consciousness, and the “how” of profitable organizational performance.   To find Endeavor’s specific solutions in Cultural Transformation please visit

The biggest challenge we see with CEOs is that often they are focused (appropriately so) on the strategy which drives the financial returns of the organization and managing those returns to the satisfaction of their equity owners.  However, in the pursuit of the right strategy, many CEOs are mismanaging or don’t understand the “How” and what a CEO does to directly impact the How.

To many CEOs surprise, the latest Board surveys are telling us that Boards are really concerned about employee engagement (only 33% of US employees are considered “engaged at work”), and that research tells us that succession planning and employee development in many organizations are suffering due to the pandemic.  For many, the focus on financial returns has caused the “How” to create less than optimal and sustainable organizations.

In future articles, we intend to speak to each of the three areas and what we see in terms of best practices for Strategy Development and Implementation, Human Capital Management and the Management of Organizational Culture.

Michael Shook

Executive Vice President

I lead the Organizational Performance Business Unit at Endeavor Management. Our passion is to help organizations perform optimally by enhancing the leadership’s capabilities through our offerings around Executive Coaching (Leadership skill development and application), Organizational…