How to become the chief exec of the future

The best chief executive officers instil a relentless ambition, entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for business across their companies

The ability to manage and embrace change will be the most important skill for the future chief executive, according to a survey out on Tuesday. Having a strong vision and clear values, being a confident communicator and seizing opportunities were also considered to be top of the list of key attributes needed to reach the top of the career ladder. In a survey commissioned by Computer Sciences Corporation and OneSource Information Services, and endorsed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), strategy was found to be a vital element of effective leadership, with over three quarters of the chief executives surveyed indicating they will spend more of their time developing business strategy in 2005 than they do now. Almost two-thirds of the chief executive officers polled indicated that more time in the future will be devoted to winning and developing business -- and rated customer contact alongside managing employees as the most important activity in their role. Commenting on the findings, Steve Tappin, chief executive officer of Edengene, a UK corporate venture business, said: "The acid test for chief executive officers is: do they deliver growth and value? For this, vision, strategy, communications and change management are a given. But the best chief executive officers also instil a relentless ambition, entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for business across their companies." The survey's authors have come up with some top tips for budding chief executive officers. They are... Pay attention at school
Intelligence was ranked as the most critical personal quality that a future chief executive officer should possess. Stay abreast of industry news
Nine out of ten chief execs surveyed believe knowledge of competitors will be the most essential type of business information. Learn to play golf
The golf course is predicted to remain an important annexe to the boardroom, with 67 per cent ranking golf as the sport in which the chief executive officers of the future is most likely to participate. Coach, rather than control
Coaching was found to be the most likely leadership style in 2005, with 'Command and Control' the least likely style. Resist sleek and shiny temptations
More than two thirds of chief executive officers chose a secretary or PA well ahead of the latest electronic gadgets. Grow old(er) gracefully
Less than one in four current chief executive officers anticipate that their successors will be younger than 40. Over 100 chief executives from FTSE500 companies, blue chips and new ventures were interviewed for the Chief Executive of the Future Survey, undertaken in conjunction with the first National Business Awards, sponsored by Orange, which will take place in London on 29 October.

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