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I had an interesting breakfast yesterday morning with Rosalinde Torres, a partner in Boston Consulting Group’s organizations practice. Torres, who has studied organizations ranging from governments in Africa to major corporations, thinks one of the skills missing from most leaders is “economic intelligence.” It’s the other EQ, I suppose—and on the other end of the spectrum in terms of soft skills. More CEOs, she believes, need to have a more macro-economic view of the world, able to sense how changes in far-reaching parts of the globe will affect their strategy and how economic fluctuations should make them think about their risk exposure.
That’s little surprise, given how much boards tend to focus too narrowly on whether or not potential leaders met their numbers. While MBAs might take some economic courses, the degree in the U.S. isn’t exactly a hotbed of high-minded economic debate. As a result, Torres believes that as globalization prompts more boards to look for know-how in the dismal science among their potential chief execs, the corner office make-up may change. She believes the European business education, which tends to focus more on economics, may end up producing more and more global CEOs.
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