Habits to Get You Into the C-Suite

You can overcome significant barriers to job advancement by simply practicing healthy thought and behavior patterns. These habits are practiced by leading Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) throughout the business world, and following their example can help you follow their success.

Be Part of the Team

CEOs are leaders, and leaders are part of the team. Start being a team player by understanding how your specific job is related to the product or service your company provides. This may lead you to think of ways your job could be done better. Second, promote the culture of the workplace, even if you see things that could be better. Volunteer for company charity events and participate in company outings.

Communication is a part of every work culture, so be sure to practice it. Remember, no workplace is perfect. Griping and complaining are negative practices that can prevent you from seeing a way to make things better, or from encouraging others. If someone starts griping to you, listen politely while looking for a way you can help in the situation. Unfortunately, some people just love to complain. Don’t be a party to this. It damages the culture and the company.

Practice Leadership Skills

Refusing to be drawn into a negative conversation is leadership because it demonstrates to everyone how to get out of these situations. Look for other ways to practice leadership skills, such as by setting goals for yourself. Then encourage others to set and pursue their own goals, and try to find some way to contribute to their success.

If you have management responsibilities, there is a balance to be struck when using this approach. Good leaders allow team members to make their own decisions on some details of the job. After all, thinking of ways to do a job better is one of the first attributes of CEO thinking, and leadership means building this skill in others.

Take a Long View

Every business and every job has its bad days. Don’t get ruffled by them. Focus on the long-term prospects for your job and the business. Encourage this attitude in those around you, primarily by demonstrating it.

This is so important that if you can’t do it you should move on to a new job. CEOs believe in their jobs, so if you don’t see a long-term future it is time to move on to somewhere else.

Business Books to Keep on Your Shelf

No matter the industry, it’s important to be well-read on important material so that you can be well-versed in the happenings within the industry. While periodicals and newspapers are certainly worth your time to read, it’s also vital that you keep up with the recent and precedent-setting literature that others around you are reading. While most of us obviously can’t keep up with every single thing that’s published, knowing what some of the best, most thought-provoking books are and reading some of them can help you keep your edge. For some of the best books on business, check out my list below.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

    • An industry standard since it was first published in 1989, Covey’s book remains so well-loved for its cut and dry analysis that puts homegrown principles like honesty and integrity over psychology and fads.

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership – Bill George

    • Leadership is something than anyone can learn, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to learning it. In his book, Bill George curates the knowledge and wisdom of more than 125 leaders to disprove the notion of the “perfect leader” and help others imbibe what it means to be a leader and find their own “true north” method for being one.

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

    • Fans of the brand Nike will recognize this name as the founder of athletic giant Nike. Knight founded the brand in 1964 and has since grown it into a globally recognizable brand that has earned him an incredible personal fortune worth $26.2B.  Shoe Dog is his memoir, which tells his story all the way from borrowing $50 from his father to launch the business all the way to reaching remarkable annual sales of tens of billions of dollars.

The Essays of Warren Buffett – Warren Buffett & Lawrence A. Cunningham

    • When it comes to business acumen and success, there’s no one quite like Warren Buffett. His skill and keen insight into the world of real estate helped him build a name and legacy for himself as one of the wealthiest men alive. Buffett’s essays makes for great reading due to the guru’s ability to explain complex concepts concisely and write in an easily comprehensible manner.

Insider Business Tips

After you’ve spent a good portion of your life inside the world of business, you acquire a few tips and tricks of the trade in a way that wouldn’t have been possible as an industry outsider. I’ve been a businessman for most of my life, so I’ve developed a good amount of insider knowledge on what it takes to be successful, and I’ve decided to share my knowledge with others.

If you want to learn how to navigate the world of business efficiently and effectively, take a look at my business secrets and learn how they can help you soar.

Clearly define how you envision succeeding.

    • This tip is one that I share with business guru Deepak Chopra, and I think it’s important for many reasons. If your vision for the future is simply “success” with no clearly mapped path to achieving said results, you’re likely to fail before you even really get started. You need to set success milestones for yourself along the way so that you determine when progress is being made. You also need to personally determine why you want to be successful in the field and exactly what it looks like to be “successful” so that you have a clearly defined vision in mind.

The employees will make or break your business; hire wisely.

    • You can craft the most brilliant, efficient, and effective business of all time, but if you hire bad employees, you’re going to undo all the hard work you did. The people you choose to bring with you on this journey matter; choose wisely.

Always, always push yourself.

    • Running a successful business means that you always need to be looking for new ways to push yourself and grow as a professional. Stagnation is the enemy of a growing business which means you can’t be afraid to put yourself in a position of risk, taking on more than you have before or you’ll never actualize your full potential.

The importance of planning ahead cannot be overstated.

    • Yes, there are always going to be events and circumstances in life that arise unexpectedly and you will need to know how to tackle them, too, but quick thinking on your feet does not excuse poor preparation or lack of oversight. Stay ahead of the game so that then these unforeseen circumstances arise, you won’t be scrambling and end up behind in your work.

A Young Professional’s Guide to Becoming a CEO

All young professionals aspiring to become CEO’s have a long road ahead of them. Many of them are aware of this, but most don’t know just how much they have to learn. In order to have what it takes to effectively run a company, you have to know the intricacies of business and leadership. In order to give these young professionals a head start, I’ve put together a list of some of the most important things to master on the journey to becoming a CEO.

Operations

As a CEO, you must understand how everything works and why it works. Operations is a big undertaking, but start thinking and asking questions about the processes of every company you work at. As you train yourself to start thinking about the gears in the machine, it will make it easy for you once you become a CEO. A few examples: you’ll need to know about the technology in your company and its role, how to find solutions to efficiency issues, and looking for ways to reduce operations cost. All of these things will help shape the company and its your job to understand how it all works.

Trust

This is more of a personal trait and way of working, but just as important. As an employee, you need to be extremely trustworthy. When you are a CEO, many people are going to count on you and trust that you’ll get things done. Your word is your bond – be sure to stick to that at all times. Instilling trust within the company is a great leadership skill and will infinitely make your job easier.

Company Culture

More specifically, understanding how to change it and why. Company culture is an important part of the work environment and overall productivity. If your employees are happy with their work environment and the culture in the office, then they will work more efficiently and with purpose. It makes sense when you think about it – it’s easier to get work done when you’re happy with how you’re treated, the work you have to do, and knowing there’s an entire support system around you.
From now until the time you find yourself as a CEO, work on the skills that will directly play into a future executive. It will make you a better employee in the meantime and may open doors for you on the road to becoming a Chief Executive Officer.

Traits All Great CEOs Share

With any business, it’s vital that CEOs focus on being effective leaders and avoid letting the desire for more profit overshadow their talent for leadership. To be a successful CEO, there are certain traits that are imperative to possess in order to lead the company and work toward its future success. Without these vital traits, a CEO may be able to hold the position, but he won’t be considered one of the “great” CEOs.

They are self-aware

Even though you’ve made it to the top of the company, it doesn’t mean you’re infallible. Great CEOs know that they sometimes make mistakes and understand their own weaknesses (as well as their strengths!). Knowing where they do and do not excel allows a CEO to delegate tasks as necessary. Through being self-aware, a CEO can also handle constructive criticism and improve in different areas.

They are optimistic

A negative attitude can bring the entire company down, so it’s important that a CEO displays optimism, even if there are some issues. Keeping a positive attitude and showing that optimism to employees will encourage them to look on the bright side and work toward finding a solution, instead of unproductively worrying about a problem.

They are realistic

Just as optimism is important, so is being realistic. Great CEOs know what to expect from their employees and know what is too much to ask. A company doesn’t become successful overnight and issues cannot be immediately resolved, so a CEO must know what a realistic timeline is for the business, as well as what expectations she should have for the business, given its resources.

They care

One of the most important traits a person can have in any position is showing others that they care. When a CEO is genuinely interested in his employees and concerned about their well-being, it translates into him valuing the company. This sense of value often inspires employees to work better. The best way to show you care is listening to people when they talk and making an effort to sincerely understand what they’re saying.

They are risk-takers

Generally, risk is involved if you want a business to show serious growth. CEOs understand the importance of risk-taking, but also know how much risk is appropriate for their individual business. Taking unnecessary risks is bad and can endanger the company.

They are learners

Great CEOs are always learning. Whether it’s how to better work with employees or developing a new skill through classes or a conference, truly fantastic CEOs make a point to keep learning throughout their professional careers. You can always learn something new and you’d be surprised what skills might benefit your career.

Leadership Qualities

All great leaders possess similar qualities that have been essential to the success they have found. Every leader has their own style that is unique to them and the field they are in, but there are a few traits that are found in every leader. These traits are the foundation to success and are found in every different niches and settings. Read on to see what all the greats have had in common and how you stack up!

Patience

Leadership requires a great deal of patience. There will be extremely difficult situations, setbacks, and general things that get in the way of progress. The best things to be able to do in this tough situations is to remain patient and clear headed to work through them. Patience provides a sense of clarity that does not happen if you’re too impatient to let the dust settle.

Accountability

Another trait found in all great leaders is accountability. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone is willing to take full responsibility for them. Strong leaders not only hold themselves accountable, they try to repair the situation. Your accountability is a model for those who look to you for guidance. It provides the precedent for how everyone should conduct themselves in the workplace.

Confidence

A leader needs to be confident, even in situation where they do not feel extremely confident. If you are not able to be confident, how can anyone else following your guidance be confident in what they do? Leading by example, especially when it comes to how you hold yourself, is often the best way to lead.

Insightful

Not everyone can look at a situation objectively and see the cause and effect behind it. It’s a hard skill to teach as well. Insight is a soft skill that comes natural to a select few people. It’s also vital for a leader. Using insight makes tough situations a little more bearable and can result in faster solutions. Leaders who look at every situation from different vantage points are more successful in hitting goals.

Positive Attitude

Finally, being a positive minded person makes the difference between an effective leader and an ineffective one. You cannot force someone to be positive or teach someone how to keep their head held high in defeating situations. Great leaders get past the toughest of situations with positivity and knowing that the hard work their team puts in will lead to success. Being in a good mindset helps make the job easier. You also get more out of something you do with a positive head on your shoulders.

What it takes to be a C-Level Executive

There are many paths to make it into the C-Suite. All of them take an immense amount of ambition, hard work, and leadership skills. Becoming a C-Level executive is every bit as tough as you would think and for good reason. Those who have made their way into top leadership have all worked extremely hard to get there. Each individual’s determination and efforts got them to where they are, but each and every one of them possessed a certain set of skills. Some of these skills are listed below. If you aspire to entering top leadership of a company, see if you have some of these very skills within you.

Bridge Building

Working at the top of the leadership team requires quite a bit of bridge building in order to be successful. Managing business relationships requires a significant understand of forming and maintaining them. You have to build the bridge in order to form new business opportunities. Once you have built the bridge, the connection is there for both parties to work together and achieve common goals.

Knowledge

Having a vast knowledge base to draw from is another essential trait to possess. In order to lead a company, you have to know the industry and the business inside out. This positions you to speak from authority to investors, new hires, and every person who comes in contact with your company. People are going to look to you for answers, so it’s very important to be equipped with the knowledge to provide answers and solutions.

Talent

Accepting a C-Level position also requires a fair amount of natural abilities. The innate talent and intuition of leadership is hard to come by. All successful C-Level executives have a bit of leadership engrained into their DNA. It’s who they are – natural born leaders. Obviously, this drive and talent are not the only thing one needs, but it is the magic spark that sets these individuals apart from the pack.

People Management

Finally, people management is another key skill needed to break into the C-suite. When taking on a role in top leadership, that inevitably comes with the responsibility over a large group of people. Having excellent people management skills is vital to your success within top leadership. You’ll inevitably have to navigate difficult situations, make tough calls, and oversee hiring. In all of these situations, your people management skills will be the foundation of how you navigate them.