We love this article by McKinsey Stepping Up: Becoming a High Potential CEO Candidate. If you do a quick search on the web, it is one of the few articles about becoming a CEO that is not trite. Ok, the Everest analogy is wearing a bit thin, but it remains accurate. The article’s ideas are sensible, on point, and give strong insight into the high expectations of CEOs.
The article has 4 guiding statements for would be CEOs. We’ve trimmed the details down to the highlights below but suggest you read the article for a full perspective.
- Take a gut check of your motivations and expectations.
- Ego is not a sustainable motivation
|Topic||Unsustainable motivation||Sustainable motivation|
|Why I want to be CEO||It’s the next step and comes with more power, money, and esteem||I have an exciting vision for the impact the company and I can achieve together|
|What being chosen as CEO would mean||I’ve proven myself and attained my ultimate goal||It’s a privilege to serve as CEO for the company’s next chapter|
|What not being chosen as CEO would mean||I lost the race, am not CEO material, and have let others down||I’m becoming the best I can be, even if I’m not the right fit here|
|How I’ll add value as CEO||I’ll solve the tough problems that no one else can||I’ll ask the tough questions that unlock the full potential of others|
|How I’ll feel as CEO||I’ll feel like the center of the action, with people around me to help||I’ll feel lonely because of my vantage point and need for objectivity|
|How I’ll act as CEO||I’ll be the boss and can run the place the way I want to||I’ll be responsive to all stakeholders and accountable for everything|
- Elevate your perspective while boldly delivering results.
- Deliver on your daily job
- Apply a broader perspective of the future, the company, and its stakeholders
- Be bold – always
- Round out your profile with humility
- Objectively assess your capabilities versus what is needed
- Fill your skill gaps and gauge your progress
- Refuse to play politics in the process
- Understand the CEO selection process and put your best foot forward.
- Every interaction is part of the interview process
- Provide bold perspectives
- Authenticity matters – you might be able to fake and interview, but you can’t fake being a CEO
Regardless of the stage of leadership you are at, and even if you don’t aspire to be a CEO, the four guiding statements are a healthy check on your leadership. Its the journey to the next level of leadership that that provides the learning and insights that change you forever.