Organizations rely on C-level executives to make strategic decisions that will impact stakeholders and business performance. These executives are judged based on employee satisfaction, market share, and bottom lines. Some of them perform well at one point but eventually make disastrous decisions. There is still a gap in knowledge on what elements make them decide how they do and what can be done before they are installed to the highest post. This paper investigated common mindsets and belief structures, which will be referred to in this paper as the X-factor, of C-level executives based on the Matrix model as a framework. This paper aimed to discover patterns in C-level executives that may be key to their effectiveness and leadership. With the data gathered in this research, there seemed to be a theme of transcendence and having intentions that are beyond one’s self. The findings may add to existing knowledge and literature on what to look for in leaders, how to develop them, and how to further improve the current ones.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Executives; Leadership; Decision making

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kent Rhodes