Of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955, more than 86 per cent are no longer listed. The average life span of a Fortune 500 company in 1955 was between 50 and 60 years. Today, it is around 15 years and dropping. My article will examine the leadership secrets of those companies that beat the odds, stayed profitable, and kept reinventing themselves. Each one of these companies at one time in its history was headed by a special leader whose principles and mindset are still ingrained throughout the company’s culture and spirit even though they are gone.

What ingredients make for a great business leader? Does it depend on an individual’s IQ? What business school they went to? Or does it go deeper? Jim Collins’s research on traits of a great leader concluded that great CEOs do not set out to become great business leaders. However, when the opportunity presented itself, they had developed the kind of mindset that allowed them to keep developing themselves and their organisations into winners.

An open mindset

Having an open mindset has nothing to do with how hard one works; rather, it involves people’s willingness to take risks, to fail, get up, learn, and continuously develop their talent. People with an open mindset are lifelong learners, not know-it-alls, and are willing to make the tough decisions. It takes an open mindset to allow others to share their thoughts and receive feedback, even when they do not agree with the leader’s way of thinking. This is all part of becoming lifelong learners and continually striving to develop their capabilities. They are not obsessed with proving how smart they are or impressing others; rather, their focus is on developing their own talent and the talents of those around them.

Many great business leaders who have reached the top have experienced failure along the way. Failure is an amazing tool that has provided some of the world’s greatest learning experiences. For example, it took Thomas Edison more than 10,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. How many companies allow their employees to fail, let alone 10,000 times? Here is a great example of a growth mindset: “I have not failed; I have merely found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Open-minded leaders know that failure is part of the process in reaching their full potential, and they allow their employees to do the same.

The full article can be downloaded below…