Did you know that the average age of a CEO across all industries is 59 years of age?
It takes time and effort to become a CEO and an industry leader and the path is very rarely straightforward when you’re climbing the corporate ladder. This is true even for the sprinters that become a CEO in less than 24 years.
So what is the best path towards becoming a CEO? Entrepreneurial success will carry you a long way, as well as bold career moves that can catapult your career and help you become the best executive possible.
Continue reading to learn more about the steps to take in order to become an industry leader in your industry.
What Does a CEO Do?
The CEO of a company is the highest-ranking executive within a company and they are tasked with making the biggest decisions facing the company. They are also expected to simultaneously manage the resources and operation of the company.
The scope and scale of responsibility are dependent on the size of the company they are running as well as the structure of the company. If the CEO is running a small or medium-sized business then they will have input on lower-level decisions.
This is especially crucial when the company is understaffed and needs someone to fill in the gaps where necessary. The CEO of a larger company is expected to focus more on the high-level decisions and planning revolving around the corporate growth of the company.
They are expected to delegate the day-to-day tasks and decisions facing the company to the managers that operate below them on the corporate ladder.
Depending on the structure of the company, the CEO sometimes acts as a liaison between the company’s operations managers and the board of directors.
Oftentimes, the CEO also has a position on the board of directors for the company. It is common for them to also be the chairman of the board. In setups like this, the board of directors still has the ability to overrule the CEO.
Small to Big Moves
As counterintuitive as it might sound, sometimes to move forward you need to go backward or sideways. The majority of sprinter CEOs took a smaller role during their path up the corporate ladder.
This could be starting or launching a new product or department within an existing company or it could be making the move to a smaller company to take on bigger responsibilities. Sometimes it could even be starting your own business.
Regardless of which of those paths they took, each of those opportunities allowed them to build something from nothing and grow their skill set. Building a new business from the ground up helps you to acquire new skills while honing existing ones.
Management skills are the most likely skill you’ll improve. You’ll improve them by managing a budget and setting a strategic vision for your business while also creating a culture within it. These skills are vital to becoming a great CEO like Matthew Gline.
Get an Education
There are no laws or regulations that require you to have a college degree in order to become a CEO of a company. Despite that, it is rare for anyone to ascend to the position of CEO without some level of formal education.
But what makes a formal education so important to success as a CEO? Completing a degree program exposes you to multiple disciplines that will help you become the best executive possible.
Getting a formal education teaches you how to think, interact, and share ideas with others. It also gives you an opportunity to work on your public speaking and presentation skills that are valuable to have as a CEO of a company.
Those skills can be gained somewhere else besides a college or university, but they are vital skills to acquire if you’re going to climb the corporate ladder to the top.
A degree from a top-tier institution like an Ivy League school is also a way to gain more credibility. This is due to the competitiveness associated with getting into a school of that nature, as well as graduation from one.
The discipline that your degree is in also impacts your likelihood of success at rising through the business world to become a CEO. Most CEOs have a business degree. That degree could be in economics, finance, or management as each of those disciplines is important for a CEO to have.
A college education is a great tool, but it isn’t required for success in the business world. Several business moguls like Bill Gates never graduated from college and still had astronomical success with their business.
Personality Traits for Becoming an Industry Leader
Having a great knowledge of the ins and outs of business is a valuable asset for being a CEO. So is having a degree from a distinguished university. Those qualities don’t guarantee success in the business world though.
There are certain personality traits that play a large role in your success in moving up in the business world. These personality traits are just as important as your business acumen and university experience.
One of the most important traits to have as a CEO is the ability to be a great communicator. A great communicator conveys a message in a way that is easy to understand and is able to relate to many different types of personalities.
They also tend to be great dealmakers and managers because of their ability to work well with different people.
CEOs are also usually extroverted people by nature. They are talkative and tend to be go-getters that are eager to get out in the world and tell the story and the goals of their company to any and all.
Another common personality trait for a CEO to have is the ability to be able and willing to present a vision of what the company will become as well as a strategy for realizing that vision.
Most CEOs are also naturally charismatic. This draws people to them and helps them to garner the respect of their peers in the industry as well as that of their employees.
Successful CEOs also can’t be afraid of failure. It is normal to make mistakes on your path to becoming a CEO, as well as after you’ve reached that position. almost 50 percent of CEOs have made mistakes that caused a setback in their career.
Typically for someone to rise to the position of CEO within a company they need to accumulate a large amount of experience in the business industry.
The main role of the CEO in a company is to provide a vision for the company as well as a pathway to reaching that vision. This is a challenge even for those with years of experience and knowledge of the risks associated with their vision.
In general, previous senior-level management is required to become a CEO. It is an almost impossible task to expect someone to be able to manage thousands or even hundreds of thousands of employees with no management experience.
A great path to becoming a CEO is by working your way up the corporate ladder at a company. This gives you the necessary management experience for running the company at a high level while also making you knowledgeable of the landscape of your company.
Reading and Professional Growth
It might sound silly, but reading about the road and path to becoming a CEO is one of the best ways to start making progress towards that goal. There is a ton of quality reading material that will help you learn what it takes to become the best executive possible.
One of the best books available for learning about becoming a CEO is Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed. It takes a close look at both talent and effort and the importance of each when becoming a CEO.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is another great book that will be a resource on your journey to becoming a CEO. It is widely considered to be one of the best self-help books ever written.
It is a great resource for improving your people skills both professionally as well as personally.
Another great book to read for the aspiring CEO is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. This book is a story about a CEO that is facing a crisis of leadership.
It provides an in-depth look at what it takes to create a cohesive and successful team within your business.
Start Your Journey Up The Corporate Ladder Today
The road to becoming an industry leader and CEO is not an easy or straightforward one. You will need particular personality traits and skills that you pick up along the way.
You’ll also need to gain valuable management experience and educate yourself on how to become the best executive possible.
For more informative and helpful business and education articles, be sure to check out more of our blog posts!