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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Potential CEO candidates should seek out CEO-calibre experiences before they need it.
Here are three tips that will make you a better senior leader, strengthen you as a CEO candidate and serve you well if you get the nod:
Stop doing more of the same. Staying in your current role longer isn't the key to readiness. Nor is round after round of career moves that build on what you already do well. Honestly assess your weak spots, identify skills you need and seek out challenges or roles that fill those gaps. If you need strategic planning experience, step up to lead the company's scenario planning efforts. If you need more international experience, lobby to lead the company's entry into a new geographic market. Note that you need to learn and lead as you go — the ability to succeed in unfamiliar territory is an essential CEO skill.
Learn to take a direct hit. Until you are CEO, you have someone else to absorb some of the shock of a poor strategic decision or an operational problem. For CEOs, the shock absorber is gone. No one else can share the blame for poor performance. To get a sense of this, make sure you are taking personal responsibility for key, high-profile initiatives. Can you own the work without micromanaging it? Can you take the hits rather than looking for cover?
Learn how to work with a Board of Directors. Few CEO candidates understand board dynamics, so start learning now by taking leadership roles on boards of local non-profits. Ask your boss or mentor to help you gain a corporate board post where you can use your expertise, but also gain new experience and perspectives. And if you are on the short list of potential CEOs for your company, find ways to get to know individual board members: work with them on committee projects, play host when they visit your site, join them on trips to other company locations, ask for a walk-through of their own business. Understanding different board members' experiences, perspectives and personalities will give you insight into the demands facing the CEO.