CEO – The Summit of Business Leadership

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.

  1. Take a gut check of your motivations and expectations.
    • Ego is not a sustainable motivation
TopicUnsustainable motivationSustainable motivation
Why I want to be CEOIt’s the next step and comes with more power, money, and esteemI have an exciting vision for the impact the company and I can achieve together
What being chosen as CEO would meanI’ve proven myself and attained my ultimate goalIt’s a privilege to serve as CEO for the company’s next chapter
What not being chosen as CEO would meanI lost the race, am not CEO material, and have let others downI’m becoming the best I can be, even if I’m not the right fit here
How I’ll add value as CEOI’ll solve the tough problems that no one else canI’ll ask the tough questions that unlock the full potential of others
How I’ll feel as CEOI’ll feel like the center of the action, with people around me to helpI’ll feel lonely because of my vantage point and need for objectivity
How I’ll act as CEOI’ll be the boss and can run the place the way I want toI’ll be responsive to all stakeholders and accountable for everything
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.