From Know Thyself to Be Thyself
Every CEO should have a go at answering the Proust Questionnaire. You know the one. It forms the basis of Vanity Fair‘s inside back page and has questions like: What is your greatest fear? Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Which talent would you most like to have? What is your motto? What is your greatest regret? Which historical figure do you most identify with? If you weren’t a CEO, what would you want to be?
The story goes that Proust was given the questionnaire by his friend Antoinette, daughter of the future French President Felix Faure. Apparently, at the time it was a popular device used by English families to understand better the character and aspirations of the taker.
So why should CEOs take the test? Great CEOs are multi-dimensional. Their stories are rich tapestries that include both the tribulations and the trials they have experienced along the ladder of success. At the same time, great CEOs are absolutely clear about what they stand for. Their personal equity can often be summarized in one word.