CEOs need to accept feedback and modify their behavior, says Deborah Farrington, founder and general partner at StarVest Partners, a venture capital firm in New York.
Through her venture capital firm, she has invested in about 70 companies and taken a long look at hundreds of others.
What does she look for?
“I look for people who don’t think they know all the answers,” she says, “because no one does in this very fast-changing world, especially in technology.
“I want to know if they’re going to listen when I’m giving them feedback.”
She tends to ask them about what they’re doing right, how they’re doing it, and what they think they can do better. Just as you might ask a job candidate, Farrington asks the questions so she can hear how the CEO handles uncertainty.
She wants to know where the current problems are, so she can help solve them—if the CEOs are willing to be honest and then listen in turn.
Lesson: Even the best CEOs don’t have every problem solved.
— Adapted from “CEO or Not, You Always Need Feedback,” Adam Bryant, The New York Times.