CEO Job Description in the form of a Value Curve

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We started with a question:

Could we analyze transcripts from ten, unstructured Fortune 500 CEO interviews and generate a meaningful CEO Job Description?

The answer is “Yes.” …and we could deliver much greater value if PwC, The Conference Board, etc., adopted our Contextual Interviewing methodology when interviewing CEOs.

Setting the stage:

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been conducting annual surveys of CEOs around the world for eighteen years.

In their 14th Annual Global Survey, PwC (see below) reached out to 1,201CEOs. 1,170 received a questionnaire, and 31 were interviewed face to face.  These were conducted by several PwC interview teams and while the opening question was the same, as the interview progressed, the questions changed, i. e.,  these were unstructured interviews


We were surprised to find we could analyze the output from unstructured interviews and are convinced that by adding structure (see below), the value of the output would be improved several fold.

9 members of our Mastering Value Innovation Best Practices group analyzed the transcripts of ten Fortune 500 CEOs (see the table below).

PwC_Analysis_Team_150430CEO transcripts analyzed:

These transcripts were available on the PwC website.  We downloaded them as pdf files.


Process used to analyze the PwC transcripts:


Analysis_Process_2_150426CEO Job Description Value Curve:

The following Value Curve was constructed using 148 citations from the 10 CEO interviews.


Elements of Performance (EoP),  (e.g., Understanding the Customer, Innovation Culture) are listed in order of importance.  We ranked “Understanding the Customer” as the most important EoP because there were more comment/statements (citations) made by the ten CEOs than any other EoP.

Value delivered by the CEO to the company is displayed in two value curves, the current state (“As Is”) and the future desired state (“To Be’).  We did not think we could develop a “Best in Class” curve based on the interviews.

As this analysis was carried out in 2011, we would expect that new Elements of Performance have moved onto CEO’s radar screens, e. g., Role of Social Media and others may have increased in importance, e.g., Talent and Sustainability.

Additional Conclusions:

  1. If these global surveys were conducted on a much more structured basis, the value to the reader, participating CEOs and PwC would increase significantly.
  2. PwC could reduce the number of interviews conducted and reduce overall cost.


Bring structure to these CEO interviews using Value Innovations’ Contextual Interviewing Methodology:

  1. Interview:  12 CEOs; 2 at the same time (a focus group of two) for 1h
  2. Use the same lead interviewer and interview team for all interviews
  3. Ask the same 6 opening questions (e.g., i. What is keeping you awake at night?  ii. What do you expect will be your most significant challenges over the next 5 years?  iii. What do you expect will be the most significant changes in the markets you serve in the next 5 years?  iv. How much time do you invest in social media a week?  v. What does innovation mean in your company?  vi. Who champions innovation in your company?)
  4. Conduct the interviews virtually and record them
  5. Transcribe the mp3s into .docx and .pdf files
  6. Team members highlight and enter comments/statements into an .xlsm file under Elements of Performance (EoPs)
  7. Develop a Value Curve incorporating EoPs from 6 and list in rank order (based on citation count)

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