Getting above the clouds

“We often get information about how to be a better manager or leader, but what about other “unspoken” tactics for becoming a CEO?

Most of us played “king of the mountain” games when we were children, and learned valuable lessons from those experiences – such as the fact that physical might alone would never defeat an army of classmates rushing toward us at one time.
Like this childhood game, there are many factors that influence our ability to forge a path to the top, including timing, circumstances, luck, competition, personality, and work habits. So, at base camp start filling your climbing packs with a few essential tools that will facilitate reaching a higher altitude.

  • Accept the reality that a few hours of glory and glamor will only come after years of drudgery and grunt work. Early mornings, late nights, short weekends, and countless hours of researching new concepts, thinking through strategies, staying in touch with the customer, listening to your team, remembering your staff’s spouses, and always saying “yes”, to senior executive requests are a few of the daily steps one must take on the ascent to the top.
  • Instead of hiding mistakes, use them to your advantage by presenting yourself as an independent reporter outlining the potential damages, describing scenarios, and suggesting solutions. If the blame is directly attributed to your mistakes, openly accept the blame, apologize, present solutions, and highlight important lessons learned from the mistakes and how they can be used to prevent bigger mistakes from happening. Then move on. Acknowledging mistakes is a trademark of secure and confident climbers.
  • If your boss makes mistakes that will hurt his/her promot-ability, it will directly affect your chances of following in his/her footsteps. If you see that your boss needs more facts to make a decision, help him/her do the homework. If he/she isn’t ready for a presentation, give him/her a briefing. Tell your boss and everyone around you that you won’t let him/her fail. This also sets trust examples for subordinates to support you on your rise to the top.

Reference source: Jeffrey Fox, “How to Become CEO”, Random House, 2000

Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine & Associates






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