Reaching C-Level status does not happen overnight. Chief executive officers must grind their way through the corporate hierarchy and rise to the top thanks to a combination of hard work, determination, and traits and qualities that make them a first class business leader. When all of these elements are part of a career-based strategy, any professional achievement is possible. Education, Education A first step any aspiring executive should take is to enhance their credentials with the customary graduate school education. In the present professional workforce, it is just as critical to possess the “tangible” resume qualities as the intangibles are. An undergraduate degree in Finance or whatever the company specialises in will not be enough. The two best tracks to obtain are a law degree or a Master’s in Business Administration. If you are already within the professional workforce, get the MBA. These programmes offer greater flexibility; many programmes offer night classes, online courses, and even accelerated one-year programs for professionals with managerial experience. This educational asset will do wonders to enhance your ascension to the boardroom. Enthusiasm Attitude can take you anywhere. In the business realm, act as if you want to own the whole company. Employees who bring a sense of vigor and seriousness to their jobs are few and far between. Be a company man and a team player; rest assured, you will be noticed by doing so. This includes accepting extra tasks with enthusiasm, and to seek them out whenever possible. Do everything you can to demonstrate to your supervisors that you are serious about advancing your professional prospects. Ambition Raw ambition is an essential quality for any business leader to possess. A part of being ambitious and assertive about advancing your career is being open to taking paths you were not anticipating to take. This does not have to be anything overly drastic. At the bare minimum, stay open to the possibility of switching shifts or locations in order to secure advancement. If you jump at the chance to be a manager in
a branch office somewhere far away, you’ll very likely get the promotion over others who have reservations about such undertakings. Power of Networking Networking can get you everywhere. Do your utmost to get in contact with, and on friendly terms with, high-level executives in your business and wherever else you meet them during the course of your career. Observe the way they act and speak to different individuals, such as subordinates, colleagues, and clients. Do not miss out on the opportunity to even ask one to become your mentor. The worst that he or she can say is “no;” executives tend to appreciate boldness over propriety anyway. An executive mentorship, if it can get be obtained, is a powerful tools for fast-tracking your career. Member of the Board of Directors To reach C-level status, aim to be elected a member of the board of directors at a respectable company along the way. This position gives you valuable experience you can use to interact with the board at your own company once you become a Chief Executive Officer. It’s also an excellent stepping stone along the way, as nearly half of all CEOs in the United States served as board members at some point previous to becoming CEOs. Acquiring C-level status is not a walk in the park. It requires going the extra mile and even farther on occasion. But if the end result justifies the means for you, it certainly is achievable. Use all the tools and resources available to you, and do not be of hiccups along the way. There is no easy path to the boardroom, but with proper planning and implementation it can become a tad smoother.