Category Archives: career development

Looking the Part

Does one need a competent looking face to land a job as CEO? A story in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Is CEO Success Just Skin Deep?” suggests the answer could be “yes.”

The article reports that researchers at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, working with the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that CEOs are perceived to have more competent-looking faces than non-CEOs.

Finance professors John Graham, Campbell Harvey and Manju Puri of the Fuqua School asked 2,000 students to rate the photos of 100 CEOs and non-executives for competence, according to a story on the school’s blog. The photos featured individuals with similar facial features, hairstyles and clothing. What their study, A Corporate Beauty Contest, found was that CEOs are more likely than non-CEOs to be rated as competent looking, though also less likely to be classified as likeable.

But before HR execs get too exciting—figuring they can trim their vetting process down to 15 minutes of simply studying a CEO candidate’s facial characteristics—they need to consider one other finding: There was no evidence that a CEO’s appearance is related in any way to a company’s profitability.

 Oh well, guess we’ll have to just keep vetting as usual.

Do as Mom Says, Not as She Does

That traditional refrain, certainly from my childhood, could be one of the messages from a recent survey, as three in four working women (74 percent) want their children to pursue a different profession or career path than their own.

The finding — just in time for Mother’s Day — comes from the latest American Workplace Insights survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adecco Staffing US.

The survey also found that nearly one-third (30 percent) of working moms are the sole breadwinners of their household, but given the choice, half of them (52 percent) would be stay-at-home moms for their kids. (I wouldn’t be surprised to find half of working dads wishing they could stay home with their kids, too.)

And one of the more puzzling findings had to do with perceptions of leadership: More than half of the moms (56 percent) say mothers make the best bosses, yet only four in 10 (42 percent) of the moms would rather have their mom as a boss than their dad.

Wonder what that means?

HRD on the Hudson

In its April 25 edition, BusinessWeek published an interesting article on CEO Jeff Immelt and General Electric: “Can GE Still Manage.”

The story devotes a decent amount of ink to Crotonville, which continues to be at the center of GE’s leadership development efforts. “Crotonville remains the company Mecca,” writes Senior Editor Diane Brady. That was certainly clear during a media day event last November, attended by HRE‘s Senior Editor Andrew McIlvaine.  His report noted that despite the economic downturn, more employees than ever are cycling through Crotonville — so many that the dormitory is routinely overbooked and GE is forced to accommodate the overflow at a nearby Marriott.

Some critics quoted in the story wonder if the campus is more of a distraction than a “virtue.” But as the latest BW story reminds us, GE continues to be more committed than ever to Crotonville. Time will tell if that continued commitment is justified. But until GE proves it has successfully regained its mojo, Immelt and his team can be certain of one thing: Critics of Crotonville aren’t going to go away.