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How to move to the C-Suite


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By Russell Reynolds Associates, Tuck Rickards and Art Hopkins

Published in: Self Improvement
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How to move to the C-Suite

  1. 1. Private and Confidential Moving to the C-Suite July 2016 David Finke Stephanie Fujii Art Hopkins Tuck Rickards Jackie Ross
  2. 2. Private and Confidential 2 Some context: what we do Leadership Advice And Insights
  3. 3. Private and Confidential 3 What we look for: sample C-suite experience and competencies Less Important Critical Relevant Domain Experience Relevant Functional Experience GM/P&L Strong Growth Orientation Agile/Nimble/Entrepreneurial Visionary/Innovative/Thought Leader Operational/Execution Oriented Commercial Strong Communication Skills Culture Fit
  4. 4. Private and Confidential 4 And how this translates to CEO level roles CEO essence (statistically significant differences of highest magnitude) 5.4 6.6 Embrace the right risks Capitalize on opportunities Competitive • Self-assured Achievement-oriented Emotionally stable • Calm Strong in their convictions 6.0 6.5 INITIATIVE Independent thinking Open to change • Imaginative Innovative • Conceptual thinker 5.0 5.5 INFERENCE Forward-thinking Free from worry • Optimistic Lively • Seek varied activities 5.7 6.1 INFERENCE Visualize the future Forward-thinking, forward action Original thinkers Curious, develop a unique point of view Driven and resilient Ambitious, intrepid, resilient Inclusive • Read others effectively Team-oriented • Rely on others Warm • Trusting Enjoy others’ company 5.2 5.6 INFLUENCE Forthright • Outgoing Socially confident Enjoy selling • Expressive 5.7 6.3 INFLUENCE Thick-skinned • Express opinions Utilitarian • Take the lead Assertive 6.4 6.8 INFLUENCE Catalyze others Set the agenda Send clear messages Communicative and open Team builders High EQ; read, engage, and organize others Six other groups of traits also distinguish CEOs from their executive peers on a statistically significant basis: INITIATIVE Senior Executive Average (1–10 scale) CEO Average (1–10 scale)
  5. 5. Private and Confidential 5 What this means for your CV and LinkedIn profile: best practices  1-3 line summary of relevant domain, functional and GM experience can be helpful – know your value proposition relative to the market  Use a well organized resume format (e.g. HBS template) summarizing the company (with description and basic metrics if needed), role and success metrics  A “portfolio” of different experiences – across industries, functions can help show well rounded GM and leadership potential  Describe overall contributions to the business and how it performed – speak as an owner of the business  LinkedIn profile should reflect full chronology of CV – join relevant groups and associations and get thought leadership perspectives online – even if just sharing relevant industry pieces  Don’t be perceived as a “hopper” – you need to show trajectory and impact – work to group and explain short stints caused by strategic exits etc.  Get involved with industry associations, non profit boards, standards committees early – great learning experience and shows leadership and governance potential  Product management is the new “Brand Management” – i.e. product and platform experience in a digital company is viewed as “academy” learning experience with a broad 360 remit and impact on the business – much as P&G brand roles were viewed as great GM grooming roles in the 80s and 90s.
  6. 6. Private and Confidential 6 Call and respond  What is executive search, retained search and exclusive search?  Why/when should you take a call? What are the motivations of the recruiter on the other end of the line?  What uncomfortable questions should you be prepared to answer?  What piqued your interest about this?  What relevant experience do you have for this?  Why are you thinking about leaving? Why did you leave? Were you fired?  What is your current compensation?  Who do you report to? Who are your peers? What is the org structure?  Are you open to relocation?  What is the worst thing I would hear about you?  Who would be your best references?
  7. 7. Private and Confidential 7 Interviewing like a GM  While you have one resume you should have a “cover letter” in mind for each opportunity – how does this role fit with your overall career goals, search strategy, capabilities and interests  Do your research – know the company, organization and find common connections if you can  Be prepared to do a very tight chronology of your background – explaining transitions and major accomplishments  Expect a competency based interview – be prepared to have stories that show how you work, and that point to leadership and GM potential  Many companies value both entrepreneurial/growth experience and larger company experience with scope and complexity. Speak to both if you can – shows versatility and ability to scale  Develop mentors and sponsors who can serve as references – be prepared to share these real time for big opportunities  Be real – be able to articulate development areas, career mistakes and lessons learned  Be hungry – have passion, ambitious goals  Be collaborative and a team player – this also speaks to leadership potential  Be prepared for tough questions: why did you leave? were you fired? current compensation? will you relocate? what is the worst thing I would hear about you?