Acquiring a C-Level Executive position can be a crucial challenge for many seasoned Executives, with the number of possible roles decreasing the higher one ascents to the top. While many leadership styles, experience levels and personal traits differ from one C-Level Executive to the next, there are numerous key characteristics and activities that the majority of successful C-Suite Executives have in common that translate into success. If you have C-Suite aspirations, here are some tips to prepare yourself for when your next C-Level Executive position becomes available.
- Be willing to take on new challenges…with fervor: When it comes to C-Level Executive, hard work reaps rewards. Those who set themselves apart in the workplace as being willing to take on new responsibilities, particularly those that no one else is prepared to do, will help to establish themselves as being capable of true leadership potential. It is important to be dynamic, hands-on, charismatic and meticulous.
- Be willing to move laterally: In the current business environment, C-Level Executives are required to exhibit an increasingly broad range of business skills, from finance to strategy. It is now imperative for hopeful C-Suite Executives to have a deep understanding of metrics, margins in addition to their company’s financial health. If your current role or career path has not enabled you to develop or demonstrate a wide variety of business skills in a multitude of environments, it might be worth considering a lateral career move before endeavoring to move up to a C-Level position. Smaller or similar size roles that bolster your credentials can have the power to lead to bigger opportunities so it’s important to think about the big picture when taking your next step.
- Align Yourself for Good Timing: If you want to stay at your current organization, it is essential to critically assess the likelihood of a C-Level Executive role opening becoming available. If the C-Level position has recently been filled by a popular, successful and fairly young Executive, you may have to wait for a long time for the position to become open. Be rational about your potential future opportunities, and consider your options if the timing looks like it might not be in your favor.
- Establish Your Impact: Being able to measure your quantifiable impact on your current and previous organizations can be helpful in securing your future C-Suite role. You must be able to provide facts and figures to show how your efforts have improved your company and how you have been able to achieve high remarkable results in high pressure environments.
- Be Willing to Make Tough Decisions: When taking on a C-Level Executive position, you will be required to make difficult decisions, under pressure, that are not always popular, while simultaneously preserving the respect of the team. In order to reach a C-Level position, you need to demonstrate this level of decision making in order to illustrate your ability to get things done and meet business goals. Top C-Suite Executives are typically typified as being proactive, aggressive and efficient.
- Recognize the Importance of Cultural Fit: Executives should be heedful to never underestimate the importance of cultural fit. C-Suite Executives are supposed to set the tone for their teams and for the organization, so if you are out of sync with the company’s culture, it is unlikely that you will be selected for upcoming C-Level positions.
- Be Open and Outspoken About Your Ambition: Openness is essential to getting on the C-Suite shortlist. Without the support of those at the top, it is challenging for Executives to rise above their current position, so make your ambitions known in order to gain their trust and support. Voicing your C-Suite ambitions can be a sensitive topic, but it is possible to approach the subject in a way that expresses honesty and humility. Conveying your ambitions to those at the top also has the added benefit of allowing your superiors to let you know the present situation and the plausibility of your C-Suite goal.