Becoming a CEO is the goal of many seasoned leaders. However, the road to the top can be challenging and filled with obstacles. I’ve worked with many high-potential candidates on various C-suite search projects who aspire to reach the C-suite. Through my experience, I have identified my top 6 differentiators for making the journey successful.

Remain humble [for me, this is the most important]

Remaining humble as a leader in a senior role can bring several benefits. Here are a few key advantages:

Remaining humble as a leader in a senior role cultivates trust, encourages collaboration, strengthens relationships, promotes learning and growth, improves decision-making, and sets a positive example for others. These benefits contribute to a healthier work environment and can drive organisational success.

You will also notice an improved staff retention rate within your company.  Remember, people leave leaders and not companies.

Develop a clear vision

A CEO needs to have a clear vision of where they want to take the company. This means deeply understanding the industry, the market, and the company’s strengths and weaknesses. A CEO must be curious, open-minded, and willing to learn to develop a clear vision. They must also be able to think critically and strategically, anticipating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Build a strong team

A CEO is only as good as their team. A CEO needs to be an effective leader to build a strong team. This means inspiring, motivating, and empowering their team members. It also means clearly understanding their strengths and weaknesses and leveraging them to build a cohesive team. A CEO must foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and accountability where everyone feels valued and supported.

Embrace change

Change is inevitable in today’s business world. A successful CEO needs to be comfortable with change and be able to adapt quickly. They must be willing to take risks, embrace innovation, and challenge the status quo. This means being flexible, open-minded, and creative. It also means effectively communicating the need for change and rallying the team around the new direction.

Develop a strong network

A CEO needs to have a strong network of contacts and mentors. This means building relationships with key stakeholders, industry leaders, and CEOs. A strong network can provide valuable insights, support, and guidance, which can help a CEO navigate the challenges of the job. It can also offer opportunities for collaboration, partnership, and growth.

Continuously learn and develop

The journey to becoming a CEO is a continuous learning process. A successful CEO needs to be committed to personal and professional development. This means staying current with industry trends, attending conferences and seminars, and seeking new learning opportunities. It also means seeking feedback, being open to criticism, and learning from mistakes.

In conclusion, even for the most seasoned leaders, becoming a CEO takes work. However, high-potential candidates can increase their chances of success by developing a clear vision, building a strong team, embracing change, developing a strong network, and continuously learning and developing.  I have seen many candidates who possess these traits achieve great success in their careers.