What’s your biggest career aspiration? Do you want to rule the world? Own a business? Become a CEO? Well, good news! Anything is possible as long as you believe it can happen. Just like Walt Disney once said, ‘all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them’. But the real question is, do you?
If you dream of becoming rich, running a business and working in a fancy office, this article is for you. The following list of tips will help you get one step closer to getting in the C-suite. Let’s go through it…
1. Get the Qualifications
Most CEOs become successful not because of the number of degrees they hold, rather the experience and skills they equip themselves with along the way. And, even though there are no educational requirements, the majority are very well educated. They are clever, do well in school, and complete undergraduate and graduate education.
The subject of their degree is generally open e.g. business, marketing or law because this allows them to change their goals if need be, but they choose one that goes in line with the industry they are interested. After that, some go straight to work, while others prefer to gain some experience and then study towards an MBA.
2. Develop the Right Skills
If you want to get to the top, you need to constantly challenge yourself. The following are some of the most important skills and qualities you will need to work on to become a successful CEO:
- Leadership skills: you need effective leadership to direct the business and manage people
- Business acumen: you need to have a strong network and links in various factors of the business
- Decision-making: you have to be willing to take effective business decisions and lead the way
- Stress Management: you have to be able to work well under pressure
- Self-awareness: get to know yourself, how you like to work and what is the best way to connect with others
- Resourcefulness: know your subject well to develop the ability to come up with quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties
- Strategic planning: have a clear strategy and direction, setting realistic goals for the organisation
- Communication skills: know how to communicate your ideas effectively and connect with a range of people
- Self-confidence: believing in yourself is key to achieving more and climbing up the ladder
Getting to know what kind of skills you need for the position of chief executive early on gives you plenty of time to work on them.
3. Take Risks
It might seem straightforward, but no matter how many times we say this, it’s never enough. Let’s face it; you can’t go far unless you are willing to take some risks. To succeed, sometimes you are forced to go against the grain. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase ‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do’?
You can learn an important lesson about trusting your instinct from the successful CEO of DigiSign Keith Krach. Even though this is something that people wouldn’t normally do – turning down an offer for promotion, Krach once took a leap of faith and quit his job at as the youngest VP of GM to move out to Silicon Valley and start his own company. A crazy move? Maybe. But in Silicon Valley, he had the chance to meet many talented people with whom he started his first business with, Rasna Corporation, which was later sold for $500 million.
4. Make Valuable Connections
Perhaps the most popular way to climb to the top is through referrals. Knowing the right people can get you literally anywhere you want to be. But this works best only after you have made connections. To do that, go to as many networking events as possible, volunteer to help at some and get the contact details of people who work at companies you are interested in. Also, don’t forget to put your LinkedIn account to good use. Network with a purpose, introduce yourself and connect with professionals that are in key positions.
5. Be Realistic
It’s difficult – if not impossible even, to get into a managerial position right away. So, if you have no idea what’s like working as a CEO, you better find out. Unless you have decided to become an entrepreneur and start your own business, it will be years before you reach that level. Before you commit to this, make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into. Becoming a CEO is more than a full-time job and it’s totally different to working as an employee. ou can expect work harder and longer than everybody else.
You will probably be working 24/7, your social life will be non-existent and if you have a family you are barely going to see them. Despite all of that, you are going to have to keep your positivity at high and be the visionary and the brand ambassador the rest of the company requires you to be. Are you sure you are ready for this?
6. Learn Finance
Managing finances is one of the most crucial skills you need to possess. If you don’t come from a financial background you might struggle to find your way, particularly in the beginning, but there are many ways to learn more about it. Attending relevant training sessions, online seminars or classes and going back to university are some great ways to find out how economics and finance work.
7. Serve People
It might sound contradictory but if you want to become a successful CEO, you need to be able to serve others. Your top priority should be to meet the needs of other people whether these are your colleagues, clients or employees. Effective leadership is achieved by adopting a service mindset - being self-centered won’t help you get to the top. You have to show that you care about other people and will help them in any way possible.
8. Become Tech-Savvy
Every aspiring CEO needs to know as much about technology as they do about business. Since everything takes places on digital platforms today, it makes sense every professional needs to know how to use computers effectively, and not just the basics. The CEO needs to be able to manage every aspect of the company or the department they are in charge of. Check if there are any online classes you can take, any seminars or training courses that can get you up to the required level.
9. Keep Yourself Motivated
It’s important to keep yourself motivated so that you don’t lose interest. Make sure you know what’s going on in the market or industry you are in. Read news articles, relevant books and make sure you stay on top of everything. Also, find out what others are doing – not to copy them, but learn from their mistakes. There are hundreds of success stories of famous people who have been there and done that, so the best thing to do is to get to know your future competitors. You can also get one as your mentor or if that’s not possible, reach out to them for advice.
10. Plan for the Future
A goal without a vision isn’t a goal it’s just a plan that lacks direction. One of the most important things CEOs do is plan for the future. This is the reason why they tend to move forward, despite their mistakes and failures. Most importantly, they take their careers seriously. Having a vision keeps your motivation alive. It’s what brings change and progress. Most successful organisations started out with a single idea. Essentially, that was a vision, and this is what you need to constantly work towards. When you become a CEO, your job is to own this vision and communicate it to everyone else.
While reaching the top position of an organisation can seem like an unrealistic goal, making the most out of your resources and using every opportunity along the way, can help. If you are in a hurry, find out how you can become a CEO by the age of 30! Good Luck!