On the CEO Path
COMMON QUESTIONS OF POTENTIAL CEO CANDIDATES:
- “How can I position myself as the capable successor in front of our board?”
- “I am wildly ambitious but know from 360º feedback that I have areas to work on. How can I show I’m making a difference in those areas?”
- “I think I have blind spots that are preventing me from reaching the top job. How can I learn what they are and how to address them?”
- “How can I build better relationships? I’m the most qualified and yet not connected enough to influence.”
- “I’m a visionary and I’m strategic, but not blessed with the DNA to execute. How do I not let that hinder me from getting the top job?”
- “What’s the best way to discreetly network for other key leadership opportunities?”
- “Am I cut out for the CEO role?”
How do I position and develop myself to become the CEO?
Strategizing a development plan and building the internal political capital to be selected for the top leadership role.
Senior vice president at a medical device organization with eighteen years of industry experience.
- Irene started her 6-month Happy Spectacular program after receiving feedback from her current CEO (whom was two years out from retiring) that she needed to be more mindful of building her internal relationships and networks. She was seen as abundantly capable yet distant on a personal level, lacking emotional intelligence.
- Motivated to position herself as a strong and likely candidate to replace her boss as CEO in two years, Irene was willing to begin a personal development plan. We began with a Discovery process, which entailed a close look at her motivations, values and goals for herself.
- Irene completed numerous assessments to identify her leadership style, strengths, liabilities, emotional intelligence and decision-making tendencies. We arranged our own Happy Spectacular stakeholder feedback process to glean Irene’s strengths and opportunities from the perspective of her boss, team members, peers, and grown daughter. These assessments, in conjunction with her last five years of internal reviews, provided us with both a broad and detailed view of her work personae. Irene was then tasked with creating a version 2.0 of her personal brand as a CEO, based on where she wanted to improve her areas of opportunity and maximize her strengths.
- The Design phase of Irene’s program consisted of a formal Leadership Development Plan, which brought her 2.0 plan to life. What actions would she need to take in order to become the leader she wanted to be, the leader her company need to see in order to promote her? How would she know when she was successful along the way?
- Irene hungrily immersed herself in a host of personal development readings & videos (our Happy Spectacular So You Want to Be a CEO curriculum), and completed numerous exercises and experiences designed to push her towards growth– sometimes out of her comfort zone, to her benefit. She built an internal social calendar of coffee and lunch dates with key team members, at various levels of the organizations (much to her original chagrin about wasting valuable work time). She green-lighted an offsite meeting with her team to not only get strategic work accomplished, but to open up lines of communication for feedback with the help of a trained facilitator. She was challenged to host a holiday cocktail party for the executive leadership team, which allowed her to strengthen personal connections. She was challenged to set up an informal monthly mentoring meeting with her boss to better understand the nuances of the role and obtain real-time feedback.
- One of Irene’s goals was to work on her abrupt communication style, so we recorded role-plays of ten different challenging conversations on our video conference sessions. We debriefed on areas of improvement and so many areas to celebrate growth.
- After 14 weeks of working on her initial relationship-building and interpersonal skills plan, we redesigned the plan to focus on positioning herself as the right successor for CEO. Irene completed a host of tools to evaluate her position amidst other likely internal candidates. By viewing her unique offerings in relation to her talented peers, Irene confidently crafted the emphasis of her plan to begin assuming additional tasks and driving three key strategic initiatives, all dependent on buy-in from her newly-strengthened relationships with her peers.
- While work was at the center of Irene’s identity, she did identify in her Discovery process that she was longing to make a difference outside of her work setting, in a volunteering or philanthropic capacity of some sort. By the end of her program, Irene had researched, identified and met with two not-for-profit organizations, ultimately joining the board of the one she felt the most compelled to work with.
- Irene’s Happy Spectacular Work + Life Plan includes her continued development areas, along with her 1, 2, 5 and 10 year plans.