In the “How to become a CEO. The rules for rising to the top of any organization‘ author Jeffrey J. Fox discusses 75 Factors That Help a Person Become the Chef Honcho, the Top Banana, the Big Cheese, the Boss. I’ve selected 21 from Fox’s list to highlight (using a combination of Fox’s writings and my own comments):
1. Don’t expect HR to plan your career – HR departments don’t have a big plan for you. Your career growth is your responsibility and nobody else’s.
2. win and keep customers – Why do so few people really work to acquire and keep customers? Because dealing with customers is tough. But if you know your customers, you know your competition and often also the future of your company.
3. Keep yourself physically fit – Ninety percent of all people who climb the corporate ladder are out of shape. Being fit gives you the energy and motivation to succeed.
4. Do something hard and lonely – Do something you know few others are willing to do. All great and successful athletes remember the endless hours of seemingly unrewarded work. CEOs too.
5. Never write a nasty memo – It’s unprofessional, regardless of the circumstances. Also, the business world is very small; it might come back to bite you in different ways. Spend your energy on positive things.
6. Think for an hour every day – Plan, dream, plan, think, charge, calculate. Figure out how to get things done. Take a mental inventory. Do this every day.
7. Know everyone by their first name – For most people, there is no sweeter sound than remembering their name and pronouncing it correctly. People will appreciate it.
8th. Make another call – The difference between the successful person and the average is centimeters. The person who takes an extra step or two every day will be the best.
9. Don’t take work home from the office – If you always have to take work home with you, you are: (a) not managing your time properly; (b) boring; (c) wasting your precious non-working hours; and (d) all of the above.
10 Eat in your hotel room – Spend your nights away from home, family and friends at work. get some things done.
11. Send handwritten notes – You stand out. They are personal and never go out of style. Send one handwritten note per week… for starters.
12. Don’t hide an elephant – The longer you hide a big problem, the more you increase its severity. If possible, turn a big problem into an opportunity to shine.
13. Be Visible: Practice WACADAD – Promote yourself within the company, but not in an overbearing manner. Don’t talk about how good you are, prove it with action. Remember WACADAD. “Words are cheap and deeds are expensive.”
14 Always say yes to a request from an executive – Always say “I can do this” when a top manager asks. Then give her more than she asked for, sooner than expected. People who get the work done are the ones who get the top jobs.
fifteen. Never surprise your boss – Bosses don’t like surprises, good or bad. You want to be informed, stay in control and keep an overview. It’s rude to keep your boss in the dark, and he’ll start to distrust you.
16 Overinvest in people – Hire the best people. Attract, motivate, train and reward the best employees. Leaders know that people make things happen. Hire employees based on the three “Is”: “I” for integrity, “I” for the “I can do it” attitude, and “I” for intelligence.
17 “Stop, Look and Listen” – CEOs reflect, think, ponder, ponder, observe, investigate and listen. Practice being on “high reception” at all times. Good listeners are considered great conversationalists. Listening is equated with wisdom and intelligence.
18 Homework, homework, homework – Many business people never really work hard. But there is a lot of activity, often busy work. That’s “rocking chair syndrome” – lots of exercise but they’re not going anywhere. Hard workers do the hard things and they do their homework. Success in projects is disappointing. Homework does it.
19 Treat all people as special – Excellent managers make people feel that they are: being asked about, not being questioned; overpaid, not underpaid; measured, not monitored; people, not staff; sold what to do, not told; instrumental, no instruments; workers, not worked; contributor, no cost; needed, ignored.
20 Be a lender, not a borrower – Give everyone 100% credit for a job well done. Many managers feel their people are weakened when they look too good. The borrower is insecure, dishonest and known to all. Enter the correct credit score and you will get your right.
21 See the job through the eyes of the salesperson – Very few products sell themselves. However, sales is the key to the company. Spend time in the field. Sell if you can. Regardless of your function or role, you need to learn what’s going on “out there”.
So, all aspiring CEOs, you must be busy working on the specific factors that will lead to your steady rise to the top. Or, if a corner office job isn’t for you, embrace these ideas to perform better regardless of your professional aspirations.
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