If you want to join the C-suite (CEO, CFO, CIO, COO), you are not alone since a recent Hays survey concluded that more than half of all employees working in Australia aspire to be high-level executives.
In a survey of 1,364 professionals, 55% said they aspire to a position as a top executive and a further 295 said they have ambition to work in mid to senior level management. However, with a limited number of vacancies available for the top jobs, you’ll need to do everything you can to stand out from the competition.
Executives who have made it to the C-suite are those who have successfully used their expertise to become excellent operators, and combined their technical skills with the highest levels of people, management, communication and organisational skills. Here are our six tips to help your aspiration become reality:
Deepen your commercial acumen – Developing a strong foundation in the commercial workings of business is essential for an aspiring high-level executive as many large companies prefer candidates who can create value for the company and who understand the company’s financial drivers.
Improve your personal qualities – Executives require strong skills in the areas of communication, decision making, leadership, problem solving and management. They need to be able to communicate clearly and persuasively, effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain policies and decisions to those within and outside the organisation.
Make individual development plans – A formal individual development plan can highlight on-the-job development activities that target specific areas for improvement. Then you can think through the key lessons each experience can teach you prior to task commencement and reflect on what you learnt following the completion of an activity.
Continue education – Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work such as ICAA. Company training programs, executive development programs, and certification can often benefit managers or executives hoping to advance, as can membership of the relevant industry bodies.
Develop your experience – Many top executives advance within their own organisation, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies often prefer to hire qualified external candidates. Regardless, successful top executives have all continued to add to their skills by gaining as much experience as they can.
Focus on your personal qualities – For those who wish to become a top executive, knowing which skills and abilities matter most in your space is essential for success and will go a long way towards differentiating you from the competition.