When you look towards the future of your career do you find yourself often thinking of moving into an executive role? A role where you can make a high-level impact on an organization, leading to both increased job satisfaction along with increased financial gain? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” and your ultimate career goal is to sit at the C-Suite, it’s time to reflect on what steps you need to take now to eventually be considered for such a role.
Below are 5 steps to start moving your career towards the C-suite:
Exhibit Leadership Skills
To move into an executive role you need to prove that you possess the key attributes of an effective leader. The first step in becoming an effective leader is to lead without rank and become someone that inspires others to excel. Challenge yourself to not let stress become a stumbling block for you whereby burnout will never be an issue. Help your team or department become all they can be, help those with the desire grow into management positions themselves. When you look at your group be aware of their needs, and attend to pertinent issues to ensure your group’s success. And finally, believe that your team is only as strong as the lower performer, which will in turn push you to evolve into a strong leader.
Demonstrate Strong Communication Skills
To be a true leader it’s critical to have strong communication skills, and exhibit this daily. Think logically, explain yourself clearly and speak succinctly to get your point across, leaving no room for confusion. Be an approachable individual and never underestimate the value of a smile to the recipient. The best leaders know how to be empathetic, always treat others as you would like to be treated. When you participate in a meeting, be the person who others look to for well thought-out answers and ideas, and do so in a concise manner; rambling on is never a good option!
Revenue, Revenue, Revenue
While leadership and communication are two pieces of the puzzle, impacting the bottom line is one of the most important skills we look for in assessing a professional’s ability to move into the C-suite successfully. In each initiative, consider how your actions and the actions of your group can impact the company’s revenue and save in operational cost. Ask yourself weekly, “Will this action drive revenue, save cost, or possibly even cause a financial loss?” This financial thinking will position you for the C-Suite. If you can prove that your employer’s financial interests have always been your top priority, you have the business acumen to become a C-level executive. It’s time to build your track record of impacting the bottom line and then make sure your resume exemplifies this.
Land a Board Position
If the opportunity presents itself always say yes to sitting on a board. If an opportunity doesn’t present itself, do your best to assert yourself where there is a need. When there is a C-level opening, many times the individuals on the board are first considered. In addition to this, the decision making experience you will gain by sitting on a a board is invaluable.
Hone Your Strategic Thinking
Having the ability to think strategically and communicate these ideas in an effective manner, is an absolute must. You must have vision and a track record of successfully executing against this vision to eventually make your way to the C-Suite. While ideas are great, results are key. Bring your visions to fruition. Think long-term; think outside the box; think about how your vision will impact the company’s growth.
If your career goals entail a C-level position, start developing yourself in these five areas to make this happen. Be an effective leader now. Communicate clearly and succinctly in the role you possess now. Always consider the organization’s bottom line. Land a board position for a company of any size or even a non-profit and always act on your vision. By taking these steps now, the leaders of your organization today will notice, and one day you will make it to the C-Suite.