The CEO Test

“Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer make a brilliant, inspired team.”
—Jim Collins

“A must-read, whether you’re in the CEO seat today or aspire to be in it in the future.”
—Stephen J. Squeri

“Bryant and Sharer have crafted a magnificently insightful guide to great leadership.”
—Ronald D. Sugar

The CEO Test

Despite all the effort through the years to understand what it takes to be an effective leader, the art of leadership remains enormously difficult and elusive. But Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer, the former CEO of biotech giant Amgen, have identified the seven key reasons that explain why leaders succeed or fail in their roles, and provide an unparalleled and practical playbook for executives at all levels in their new book, THE CEO TEST: Master the Challenges that Make or Break All Leaders.

These critical leadership challenges are brought into their highest and sharpest relief for CEOs, but they are hardly unique to chief executives. All leaders face their own version of these tests, and Bryant and Sharer draw on the distilled wisdom from hundreds of chief executives to show how every aspiring leader can master these challenges and lead like a CEO. These foundational leadership skills will make all executives more effective in their roles today, and will help lift the trajectory of their careers.

Leadership is getting harder as the speed of disruption across all industries accelerates. The CEO Test simplifies the complex and sprawling field of leadership to create a shared language of what truly matters for leaders at all levels, and provides a clear roadmap for succeeding in these critical challenges:

  • Can you develop a simple plan for your strategy? Simplifying complexity is a leader’s superpower.
  • Can you make the culture real—and matter? It’s about walking the talk.
  • Can you build teams that are true teams? They are key to driving strategy.
  • Can you lead transformation? The status quo is enormously powerful, and the enemy of change.
  • Can you really listen? Danger signals can be faint, and bad news travels slowly.
  • Can you handle a crisis? Avoid the predictable mistakes that trip up so many leaders.
  • Can you master the inner game of leadership? The conflicting demands and challenges must be managed.

They bring these themes to life with the insights, stories and compelling quotes from veteran leaders, including Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Bob Iger of Disney, along with in-depth case studies of how Sharer learned crucial leadership lessons himself.

Kevin and I believe that the best leadership advice helps slow the game, so that you can better anticipate, understand, and label the nuanced dynamics of different situations in the moment and guide them to better outcomes. And we think that our approach of sharing the stories, lessons, insights and tips from veteran CEOs is the most effective way to impart that wisdom.

Praise for The CEO Test

“Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer make a brilliant, inspired team. Bryant brings a vast mental database of more than six hundred structured conversations with elite leaders, combined with a gift for weaving smart, lucid prose. Sharer brings decades of strategic experience, including as CEO of Amgen, which became one of the world’s first truly great and enduring biotechnology companies. I just love the idea of bringing Bryant’s incisive insight together with Sharer’s practical wisdom to address the vexing challenges of leadership.”
—Jim Collins, author, Good to Great; coauthor, Built to Last and Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0

“Sharer and Bryant mine insights from hundreds of CEOs to identify universal lessons that will help leaders at all levels become more effective. They steer clear of the truisms and platitudes that are all too common in leadership books and instead rely on their genuine journalistic curiosity and a gift for pattern-spotting—along with memorable stories—to bring the essential challenges of leadership to life.”
—Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO, The New York Times Company

The CEO Test provides an honest, candid approach to the countless issues that leaders at all levels might face. It’s a must-read, whether you’re in the CEO seat today or aspire to be in it in the future.”
—Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and CEO, American Express

“Bryant and Sharer have captured the essence of successful leadership. Their examples are equally applicable to companies large and small and to leaders of all functions and levels, from the C-suite to entry level.”
—Ellen J. Kullman, former Chairman and CEO, DuPont; CEO, Carbon

“As two astute observers and successful practitioners of the art themselves, Bryant and Sharer have crafted a magnificently insightful guide to great leadership. The CEO Test should be required reading, not just for CEOs but for leaders at all levels who are ready to raise their game.”
—Ronald D. Sugar, former Chairman and CEO, Northrop Grumman Corporation; board director, Apple, Amgen, Chevron, and Uber