Healthy Leaders Win

This article first appeared in The Suit.

“I’ve always been interested in the psychology of people in power,” says Bob Rosen,  CEO of Healthy Companies International, the Arlington, Virginia-based leadership consulting and research firm he founded in 1988. “I’m trained as a clinical psychologist, but I‘m also a businessman. I look at leadership from that nexus.” Rosen’s firm consults with top leaders across an international clientele including PwC, ING, New York Life and MedStar Health.

“So much emphasis is placed on what leaders do, we can lose sight of who they are, although intuitively we know that inner identity shapes every choice,” Rosen explains. He cites research, not intuition, to make his case. “We’ve interviewed nearly 400 CEOs – great leaders like Alan Mulally at Ford, Isadore Sharp at Four Seasons Hotels, and Michele Peluso when she was with Travelocity. From our ongoing study, we draw insights into what makes successful CEOs tick. We reference our unique CEO database to help our clients succeed.”

What insights does the research offer?  “In companies that grow profitably over the long term – the companies everyone tries to emulate – you tend to find healthy, balanced leaders, while in companies that go terribly wrong– Enron, for example – you often find that the top executives were not centered, healthy leaders.”

What makes a leader healthy? Healthy Companies’ research points to six distinct dimensions of leadership health:
1) Physical
2) Emotional
3) Intellectual
4) Social
5) Vocational
6) Spiritual.

“The best leaders are healthy across all six. So taken together, these dimensions provide a practical new lens on leadership effectiveness. Healthy Leadership will be the focus of our next book, the sixth we’ve produced from our CEO research.”

Rosen says being a CEO today is harder than ever. “The speed and complexity of the business climate are unprecedented. You can’t control the environment, but you can make yourself a more consciously effective leader. It is important to ask: ‘What legacy do I want to create? How do I bring my full force of personality to my role? How can I unleash more of the human energy that lays dormant in our company?’ We help CEOs and their executive teams tackle crucial questions they urgently need to explore.”

While everything Healthy Companies does aims to improve companies’ business performance, Rosen concedes that the work is personal. “To have full impact, we need our client executives to know that we genuinely care about their careers and about them as people. CEOs tend to be smart. You’re not going to trick them. It has to be authentic. So yes, when we’re at our best, it’s personal.”

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