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Paperback Executive Intelligence: What All Great Leaders Have Book

ISBN: 0060781882

ISBN13: 9780060781880

Executive Intelligence: What All Great Leaders Have

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Book Overview

The final word on what traits make for highly successful managers--and a detailed explanation of how to identify potential standout performers.

Executive Intelligence is about the substance behind great leadership. Inspired by the work of Peter Drucker and Jim Collins, Justin Menkes set out to isolate the qualities that make for the 'right' people. Drawing on his background in psychology and bolstered by interviews with accomplished CEOs,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Critical Thinking

Executive Intelligence By Justin Menkes Reviewed By Alan M Goldberg Ph.D. Professor of Toxicology and Director, Center for Alaternatives to Animal Testing, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University It takes brilliance to make what become apparent- apparent. We know that intelligence and knowledge are different--once we read Executive Intelligence (ExI). We may have even known it before reading ExI but not quite in the same way. The clarity of the presentation and the real life examples provides proof that both are necessary, but alone neither is sufficient. Once paired, then the critical thinking that evolves makes ExI extremely powerful. As impressive is the understandable way the 3 skills of ExI - tasks, people, and self- are taught. Having read the book and having a chance to think about the concepts, it is unlikely that I will ever approach a problem without thinking through the ExI concepts. The approach developed in ExI goes beyond the corporate office but equally applies to academic management as well. This is breakthrough thinking not unlike the work of the late Peter Drucker. A must read for those that really want to improve their own performance.

A Smart Read

This is the book my Wharton alma mater should assign its students. Why? Because it sheds new and significant light upon something which has been too much of a mystery for far too long and the understanding of which is highly relevant to anyone involved in management - what makes a star executive a star? Menkes answers this question with a welcome clarity and directness that is far removed from the unnecessarily dense prose and jargon which obscures so many business school articles and tomes. Indeed, Executive Intelligence crackles along with entertaining and enlightening insight and example. But don't let the accessibility of this book fool you because it is obviously a work of academic rigor. Those of us who could do without wasting our time on another business self-help book filled with platitudes and exhortations will find themselves deeply satisfied and educated.

Different from the rest (and better)

This book is unique. Unlike the stacks of management books I've got on my shelf, this one is grounded in extensive empirical research that is explained in easy to understand terms. I definitely walked away feeling like I'd gained something useful. Menkes begins the book by talking about what executive intelligence is: The skilled use of information as a guide to action. The first half of the book outlines the concept in detail, listing the specific skills that make it up. It includes a series of case study interviews with exceptional CEO's, including such notables as: Kevin Rollins (CEO Dell), Andrea Jung (CEO Avon), and Jack Welch (former CEO GE) and Jim Kilts (CEO Gillette) to name a few. The second half of the book delves into the science underpinning the theory. It gives an excellent history of how the definition of intelligence has evolved over the years, and how controversy over IQ has caused us to disregard the undeniable role that cognitive ability plays in success. He dissects the usefulness of emotional intelligence (not very) as well as current hiring practices- what works, what doesn't, and why. He finishes by explaining how to combine the practices that work with a new kind of interview that measures executive intelligence. The findings include independent studies that support his recommendations. Menkes does a nice job identifying and laying out the skills needed to be successful at work. But instead of just putting out a theory and arguing why its right, Menkes actually includes executive intelligence test questions to allow the reader to judge for themselves whether they would provide any useful insight. From my perspective, they do.

Finally something I can use.

As an executive for a large company responsible for a lot of our new hires, I try to stay current with new employee hiring and assessment best practices. I was reading the November issue of Harvard Business Review and there was an interesting article by Menkes about his theory, so I decided to buy his book. I was prepared to hear all about how Menkes was going to expand the concept of intelligence beyond what it means to be smart like Goleman (emotional intelligence) or Zohar (spiritual intelligence). I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to learn that Menkes actually believes that intelligence is how skillfully someone thinks, not how emotionally attuned or spiritually grounded they are. Menkes premise is that IQ tests were originally designed to predict school success and that they do so very effectively. So, he reasons, just like we can identify the subjects of academics and assess an individual's likely success in school, we can also identify the subjects of business and the skills needed to perform well in that setting. By doing so he created an intelligence measure that should predict business success. He divides work into three subjects: accomplishing tasks, working with other people, and adapting oneself. He offers a very convincing argument for what I've observed for a long time; that is, the interviewing methods we currently use only tell us about a person's experience, not about how smart they are or how well they will do in a new position (which is why many people who have done great at their job interviews have turned out to be such disappointments once they are hired). Menkes boils down very complex research into understandable explanations and provides a lot of scientific and empirical support for his argument, as well as interviews with top executives that show what this intelligence looks like in real life. The book wasn't overly complicated, confusing or esoteric, and I was able to read it in two evenings.

Great Mix of Science and Anecdotal Evidence

Like many readers, I need my intellectual stimulation to come with a healthy dose of good storytelling. Menkes gives us both here. His Executive Intelligence theory comes with a strong empirical foundation, and the sample questions he gives to measure said intelligence intrigue and challenge us. Readers who test their own executive intelligence by these measures will either find themselves pounding fist to forehead asking, "Why didn't *I* think of that?" or will immediately seek better jobs in the knowledge that they can indeed perform in high management positions. Fortunately for those of us with black and blue foreheads, Menkes provides exercises for both learning and teaching Executive Intelligence. Overall an absorbing read in the spirit of Gladwell's Tipping Point or Drucker's Effective Executive.
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