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Korn Ferry

CEI elevates key

leadership skills.

Chief Executive Institute

Acknowledged by Fast Company as the “Mayo Clinic” of leadership development, Korn Ferry’s Chief Executive Institute™ (CEI) is a oneof-a-kind offering that uniquely equips a new or emerging CEO for success. 

There is no other role like that of CEO. Visualize a CEO standing at the intersection of two challenging pyramids. The downward pyramid represents the organization: the executive team, sectors of the business, and people who make up the enterprise. The upward pyramid is comprised of customers, the board, the street, stakeholders, bargaining units, and the media. 

New CEOs must quickly learn what it means to reside in this highperformance juncture between internal and external constituencies. Becoming the CEO is not a job change, it’s a career change.

CEI advantages.

Chief Executive Institute is a distinctive component of Korn Ferry’s CEO Succession offering. It aims to develop CEO-specific leadership skills by enhancing an executive’s personal, interpersonal, and enterprise effectiveness—the keys to long-term success. 

CEI includes: 

  • A team of coaches — Four coaches, specifically focused on the distinct complexity of CEO development, work with the executive for 12 to 18 months. Each coach brings expertise in one specific mastery area of leadership, and the team always includes at least one highly successful former CEO—an important program component given how few people can relate to the realities a new CEO is experiencing.
  • A tailored, in-residence approach — Every executive’s development program is designed specifically for his or her needs. Conducting the program in a specialized setting, away from everyday situations, allows for focused, in-depth work.
  • 720° leadership development — CEI develops leaders from the “inside out” by clarifying values, strengths, development challenges, and purpose, and from the “outside in” through interviews, feedback, and 360° assessment.

CEI elevates key leadership skills. 

No job experience can ever fully prepare a new or emerging CEO for this role. The CEI process uses assessment and exploration, feedback from key constituents, and hands-on work with a team of experienced executive coaches who are selected for
their expertise in four critical areas:

  • Personal leadership — Self-awareness is crucial to CEO effectiveness because the character, values, and strengths of the CEO directly affect the performance of the entire enterprise.
  • Team/interpersonal leadership — Senior teams, by their nature, are often the least effective teams. A CEO must be able to effectively lead a “team of leaders” so that organizational growth can be sustained.
  • Enterprise leadership — CEOs must learn to transcend divisional and functional points of view in order to effectively lead the entire enterprise with purpose, vision, and inspiration.
  • CEO leadership — CEOs are scrutinized on all sides and must, therefore, master the critical influencing, business strategy, and communication skills required to successfully manage multiple constituencies.

The CEI experience. 

CEI participants begin the program by meeting with their coaches, completing our proprietary assessment tools, and then attending a three-day in-residence session at one of Korn Ferry’s CEI centers. Shorter follow-up coaching sessions with the entire team are scheduled thereafter. Only one executive is hosted at a CEI center at a time. 

The exclusive nature of this in-residence process allows executives to focus fully on learning and, thereby, accelerate their development and effectiveness. Intensive front-end immersion jumpstarts the development experience and lays the groundwork for immediate “on-the-job” implementation of development, creating noticeable traction. 

Each session builds on the next. The in-residence component is followed by progressive work with coaches and selected outside resources in areas directly related to the needs of each participant. Examples would be real-time experience dealing in areas like investor relations, board relations, leader development, analyst presentations, and large-scale public speaking.

This program structure enhances the executive’s contribution to the company by helping him or her to establish a “leadership legacy,” by confirming the individual’s assumed readiness for the CEO role, and by mirroring a successful approach to leadership preparation for other senior executives.

The Korn Ferry Chief Executive Institute development process has been refined for over 20 years. The approach incorporates time- and field-tested best practices, offering new CEOs or CEO succession candidates a transformative experience that translates to superior preparedness and sustainable performance.

CEI program benefits: 

Scrutiny begins even before a new CEO takes the reins, and the need to ramp up quickly is critical. Korn Ferry Chief Executive Institute participants gain personal, interpersonal, and enterprise effectiveness within an accelerated time frame. New CEOs or designated CEO succession candidates who participate in Korn Ferry’s proprietary CEI coaching process:

  • Develop the self-awareness and the skills necessary to manage the personal accountability that accompanies serving as the CEO.
  • Create a personal legacy of leadership that helps to ensure the enterprise’s long-term viability.
  • Deliver enterprise-wide leadership that will move the entire organization toward common goals. 
  • Learn how to manage the expectations of external constituencies, such as market analysts, shareholders, institutional investors, the news media, the board, and customers, within the context of the organization’s objectives.