COMPAS Poll/Survey
February 20, 2006

Measures of Success

  Survey of Mid-Cap CEO Panel undertaken for The Financial Post under Sponsorship of Roynat
Business and Finance

Members of the hand-picked panel of mid-cap CEOs (n<50) were asked to score the importance for themselves of a list of possible measures of success. The classic business measure, increasing profit, is at the top. This is followed very closely by team-building considerations - enhancing the quality of the team and also its loyalty, as shown in table 1. Retiring early is far at the bottom of measures of success with a majority scoring it negatively (1-3 on the 7 point scale).

The various success scores were factor-analyzed to disclose their underlying structure. The application of this multivariate statistical technique reveals four underlying ways in which CEOs gauge success:

  • Being a business revolutionary, especially by creating an entirely new product or sector (the so-called killer category)—factor 1 in table 2;
  • Achieving a work-life balance, partly by increasing gross income and retiring early—factor 2 in table 2;
  • Creating a great team, notably through enhanced quality and loyalty—factor 3 in table 2; and
  • Earning recognition in the form of community respect and being seen as a leader in the sector—factor 4 in table 2.

Asked how they would like to be portrayed in a local paper upon retirement, most expressed a desire for a story that highlights their ethics and honesty, as shown in table 3.

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