What does it look like to be on the CEO track? And what does it mean to you personally? Whether you want to be a company’s CEO one day or simply want the tools to be CEO of your own life, this episode is for you! I’m defining what a CEO is, how this applies to your life, and how you can reposition your career so that you’re on the CEO track!
What We’re Talking About
- What is a CEO?
- What Makes a Great CEO
- How to Become a CEO – in a Company and Your Own Life!
What is a CEO?
Definition of a CEO: they set the strategy to reach the vision
Most of you here are employees, you’ve gone to school, and you’re looking for the next thing. Are you using a CEO mindset to pursue that next thing? In your career, do you have a strategy? Do you have a vision for your career and future? Do you know what you’re working toward? Or are you still operating in an employee mindset instead of a CEO mindset?
Many of us are just following the steps, waiting to see what comes across our doorstep, waiting for other people to tell us we’re valuable, or for companies to tell us we get a shot…but I want to empower you to think, “What do I have to offer to the world? And what do I want to do?”
This is not entitlement. It’s taking ownership of your skillsets and capabilities, being able to craft a vision for what your future is going to look like, then set a strategy for moving forward. We help people very specifically with that strategy!
But first, you have to think through: what do you want for your future? What do you want your career to look like 10 years from now? It’s one of the hardest questions in an interview. But can you ask it to yourself today, with no judgment? If you don’t know the answer, it’s ok. But you need to do the work to find that answer.
What Makes a Really Great CEO?
These top 4 CEO qualities were identified by CEO Genome Project through intensive research. These are a guide we can use to develop as you look to grow, develop, and get onto the CEO track.
One thing to note – none of these are technical skills! Isn’t that remarkable? It’s your soft skills that make or break leadership roles.
- Making Decisions with Speed and Conviction
- Engaging for Impact or Excelling at Bringing Others Together
- Being Proactive and Adapting Ahead of Time
- Reliably Delivering and Producing Results
If you’re on the track for CEO, you need to think through these. How is your decision-making? Do you engage for impact and bring others along with you? Are you proactive and thinking ahead? Are you reliably delivering results? Are you doing the things you say you’re going to do?
How to Get on the CEO Track
So in your career, how do you apply this? We’ll take the same skill set and filter it through your own job and life:
1. Do you make decisions with speed and conviction?
Do you know what you want in your career and future? You need to do this work before-hand so you can make decisions quickly and with authority.
2. Do you engage for impact or excel at bringing others along?
Are you networking like this – with both those ahead of you in career and those a bit behind you? Maybe it’s time to mentor a new grad. Are you bringing other people along to help them? Be a mentor first – then get a mentor. This helps bring other people along and is a skill that transfers as you navigate the CEO track.
3. Are you proactive in adapting ahead of time?
Are you proactively networking, even when you don’t need something? Or are you being reactive in your career? If you’re only networking when you need something, that’s when it feels uncomfortable, awkward, and really weird! Are you paying attention to trends in the marketplace? Are you looking left and right, evaluating what’s happening in your industry, and adapting before it’s too late? Don’t just put your head down – put it down and work hard, but make sure you look up and around every once in awhile to take stock of what’s going on around you.
A true CEO is always going to be on the lookout for opportunities for their business. You can embrace a CEO mindset by thinking about what opportunities are available to you and how can you get ahead of them? Then you won’t be in a position where you want to move so badly that you take whatever comes along next and are not strategic. A CEO is always strategic and proactive.
4. Are you reliably delivering and producing results?
It can be easy when we aren’t happy at work to check out or slack off because we’re ready to go. But how do we exit gracefully? I believe we should finish well, go hard until we’re done, show up with excellence until the end. Be the best version of yourself – even if you’re not feeling like the best version of yourself.
A Bonus Stand Out Quality in a CEO
Another key quality in a CEO is someone who understands the public relations aspect of developing a brand and reputation for a company
One thing a CEO says can massively impact a company – for good or bad. In your career, are you paying attention to your personal brand? Your name is your reputation. What are you doing to boost your name and brand? Are you positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field? Are you showing up as a CEO in your career in this way?
How to Know if You’re Not on a CEO Track
1. You Aren’t Focused
CEOs have a strategy and get after it – if you aren’t focused, you’re probably not on the CEO track
2. You’re Climbing the Wrong Ladder
A CEO knows where they’re going and what they want. Do you know what you want to get out of your career? What goals you want to achieve? If so, are you on the right ladder?? Or are you climbing the wrong one?
3. Letting Everyone Else Tell You What You Should Be Doing
Are you waiting for someone to give you an opportunity? Do you let others tell you what you deserve to be paid? If you’re deferring to everyone else before evaluating what you want and then going after it, you aren’t on the CEO track.
If you want to be on the CEO track, you can no longer be letting everybody else at every other company tell you if you’re valuable, tell you if you’re worth it, tell you if you have something to offer. YOU DO!
Everyone is unique. Everyone has their own skills and capabilities. You have to own that, leverage that, and then tell a company why you could be useful to them and what value you bring to them. But you must internalize this first and believe it!
If you are operating in this space, you’re going to take anything offered to you, struggle with direction, and/or have an emotional rollercoaster experience. If you want to be on the CEO track, you cannot let other’s perceptions or other people’s opinions infiltrate or define who you are or how you show up – you get to define that because you are the CEO of your career!
“Nobody else has to wake up and go to your job. You are the only one who wakes up and goes to work. You have to be happy with it – nobody else.” – Papa Viviano
You have the freedom to decide what you want to do next, to move toward opportunities that will fit that thing you want, and then be very okay with that! So…where are you showing up in your career? Where are you making moves and decisions as the CEO of your career? Or are you letting others define what you do next in your career?
4. You’re Waiting for Others to Tell You that You’re Qualified
Don’t wait for recruiters to find you and tell you you’re qualified! No way! I want you to decide for yourself what you’re qualified for, and then pursue the roles you want.
I want you to stretch yourself as well. CEOs take career risks, apply for roles they’re under-qualified for, and stretch and grow into it! They press and push themselves to do it, even though it’s a leap. Being a CEO is not easy. If you’re getting emotional, there’s a lot of tension – GOOD! You’re probably going in the right direction.
5. You’re Only Focused on the Busy Work
You only have your head down on what’s right in front of you, never up or looking left or right. Keep your eyes out for opportunities and growth, not just down on the immediate tasks.
6. You’re Only Applying Online
This is not a strategy – it’s lazy. You need to have a strategy, clear vision, tools in place, and a plan to move from point A to point B.
How to Reposition Yourself onto the CEO Track
So, you’re realizing you may not be on the CEO track currently, but you’re ready to reposition your career and mindset that way? I’ve got you, friend! There are micro-habits and macro-thinking to help us pivot onto the CEO track and thrive! There are many things we cannot control in our career. But there are also many we can!
4 Micro-Habits You Can Change
Micro-Habits are things we can control. These include thought patterns, habits and routines, and my perception of myself. I've got four of these that will help get you on the CEO track:
1. Choose Not to be Taken Down by Negative Feedback or Rejection
It’s easy in your career to internalize a lot of negative self-talk. What CEOs do really well is thinking about themselves in a positive way: “I’m really good at this one thing, and a company would be lucky to have me to reach their goals!” I want you to train your brain to think in this way! “I come to the table with these gifts, I have value and skills.”
A CEO level mindset listens to feedback in a way that helps them improve, not tear them down. Many of us get feedback or rejection and internalize it to build as proof to ourselves that we “I knew it, no one wants to hire me…” or some other downhill slide to negativity about ourselves. Don’t get stuck in this place I call “the hums of not enough.” A CEO elevates themselves above this mindset space. They listen and take what they need to grow, but they don’t get stuck in the negativity.
When we get negative feedback or have something negative happen in our careers like a job rejection, we may start cycling down this negativity drain. BUT! There’s another option. There are 3 ways to take feedback:
- Let it pierce you like a dagger – and take you down the negativity spiral
- Let it be an annoying burr – stuck to you and irritating you
- Let it be like a ping pong ball – receive it and release it, let it bounce away
CEOs decide how to take feedback and what to simply let go. If you want to be the CEO of your career, you have to choose how to take feedback and choose to control your mindset. What if you could think about yourself differently indoor career? What would it manifest?
2. Have a Morning Routine
Full transparency: I am not great at this. But I continually read that really successful CEOs have a solid morning routine and have alone time. The key is that alone time. Having time to process, think, and not be firing on all cylinders at all times. Mental and physical health greatly impacts your leadership.
3. Get Better at Saying “No”
CEOs are very comfortable saying “no.” They discern the things that won’t work and opportunities that aren’t in line with vision. Many of us in the job search get great offers that aren’t right for us. You can say no and trust that other opportunities will come!
Saying no also means setting good boundaries. Great CEOs are great at this. In your work, where are boundaries being blurred? Where are you allowing a company to tell you how to spend your time, and where are you expressing how you’d like to sue your time and your skills? Let’s practice setting firm boundaries, friends!
4. CEOs Spend Money and Time to Invest in Themselves
CEOs invest in leadership development, executive coaching, and having others speak into them. They do not operate in a silo. So, where are you investing in your career? What does investing in your career look like for you? You get to decide! It could look like investing in a coach or courses. It could look like going to certain functions, networking events, or conferences. Decide what that looks like for you and begin to invest in your career.
2 Macro-thinking Shifts
Macro-thinking shifts are larger mindset changes that happens over time. 2 key ways to be intentional here:
1. Get Clear on What You Want
You need to get really clear on what you want. And then own that. Don’t be ashamed of it. Then build your brand around it. CEOs have clarity on what they want for their company and the brand around it.
Get clear, know your secret sauce, then build your brand. Building your brand can look like producing content, getting on panels about your subject, be around other people in the role, and putting yourself in the vicinity of the people who will help shape your personal brand and the perception around it. Just like a CEO thinks about PR for his company, you have to think about personal brand and perception. You have to build this and strategically plan it in order to be seen as the go-to person for XYZ role/market.
2. Think About Your Next Move
As much as you may feel bad about this, you have GOT to be thinking about this in today’s culture. What’s the next quarter turn to make? What is the next move that will get you closer to your end goals? At the end of the day, a company is only going to be loyal to you for what makes financial sense for them. So you need to pay attention to what is the next move for you, the next thing you want to invest in, the next thing you want to do, and be looking for those opportunities. And you need to be proactive in this.
Ready for the CEO Track?!
So…what was the biggest takeaway for you? Do you feel like you’ve been on the CEO track and rocking the CEO mindset? Or have you been in an employee mindset and taken a backseat in your career? What are you going to do today to get in the driver’s seat? I’d love to hear what moves you’re making over on LinkedIn!
We are here to help. We want to empower you to take back control of your career and life again! It’s time to reposition your career to get on the CEO track!
How to Reposition Your Career So That You’re on the CEO Track
February 19, 2020