Survey: Executives Say Mindset Most Important Factor in Business Performance and Career Success

SPRINGFIELD, Pa.--()--A new study of more than 300 senior executives at companies with revenue of $1 billion or more, conducted for the Leveraging Genius Institute of global consultancy Gap International by Nielsen/Harris Poll®, found that executives consider mindset and attitude the most important factor for the success of great business leaders, followed closely by people skills and teambuilding. Additionally, the survey found mindset/attitude and core job skills lead training priorities. At the same time, executives cited shortcomings in mindset/attitude as the factor inhibiting people from advancing, much more so than deficits in technical skills and expertise.

The survey explored executives’ views on the success of great business leaders, career advancement, team performance and employee development, as well as on the perceived difficulty of changing attributes that drive individual and team performance.

  • Mindset/Attitude was ranked as the most important attribute for the success of great business leaders by 34 percent of executives, followed closely by people skills/teambuilding (31 percent).
  • Similarly, when asked what drove performance among their teams, the most cited response was mindset/attitude (34 percent), followed by technical expertise and leadership skills (24 percent each).
  • Executives also ranked mindset/attitude and core job skills as the top priorities for training their teams (32 percent each).
  • When given a choice between mindset/attitude and technical skills and expertise, 68 percent of executives believe shortcomings in mindset/attitude most often inhibit people from advancing within their company, compared to 32 percent who believe shortcomings in technical skills/expertise represent the most important barrier.

“All successful business executives understand that industry experience and technical skills are important for organizational success – that’s usually not the issue,” said Pontish Yeramyan, chief executive officer and founder of Gap International. “When it comes to building a workforce that can deliver long-term success, the proper mindset is absolutely critical, and we can all focus on that as leaders.”

Mindset and attitude, the focus of Gap International’s approach to creating breakthrough outcomes, emerged as a primary concern among executives, who see mindset/attitude as crucial to success, yet admit that this remains an elusive target when it comes to developing the mindset and attitude that will actually produce success. Gap International’s Leveraging Genius Institute is committed to studying and elucidating the mindset, or background thinking, of executives when they are at their best and refers to this mindset, including the ideas and attitudes that are in play when a leader is most effective, as his or her Genius.

“Employers recognize the difficulties faced in developing their people to perform consistently at a high level,” said Eric Jackson, vice president at Gap International. “The findings are quite telling: technical skills and expertise, traditionally given the most attention, may not be as critical as focusing on mindset and attitude when long-term success is in mind.”

For more information on the study and Gap International, please visit the Gap International website.

Every year, global executives convene at Gap International’s annual Leveraging Genius conference to discuss these challenges and how to address them. For more information on the conference, please visit the Leveraging Genius webpage.


The survey was conducted online by Nielsen/Harris Poll® from February 6–February 25, 2015, among a total of 301 senior corporate executives with revenues of $1 billion or more.

About Gap International

Gap International is a global consulting company that partners with leaders in producing exceptional growth. For over three decades, Gap International has worked with FORTUNE 500 companies, Global 1000 corporations and U.S. Government agencies – enabling leaders, teams and organizations to operate at the highest levels of performance. The company is headquartered in Philadelphia, with an international office in London.

*SOURCE: Genius Survey, commissioned by Gap International and conducted by Nielsen/Harris Interactive, online omnibus survey of 301 corporate executives at companies with $1 billion+ revenue, February 6-25, 2015


Edelman for Gap International
Harrison Sheffield, 404-832-6340


Edelman for Gap International
Harrison Sheffield, 404-832-6340