Is the C-Suite for you?

It’s not for everyone. There are several traits C-Level executives possess that others may not.
Try these exercises to boost your suitability for the impact position you’ve set your sights on.

They are decisive.

C-Level executives reach decisions quickly and trust their own instincts. If you need time to analyze, ruminate and consult when making important decisions, you may not be comfortable with the pace required in the C-Suite.

Exercise: Think back on major decisions you have made. What was your initial gut reaction to the problem? Did careful analysis sway that decision or would the outcome have been the same? Can you gain enough confidence in your instincts to make important decisions quickly?


They are big-picture focused.

If you are detail oriented, you’ll need to learn to pull back or choose a role that values your attention to detail. For example, you may achieve greater success and job satisfaction as a senior-level financial analyst than as a CFO.

Exercise: Choose a project you are currently working on. If you tend to concentrate on the task at hand, pull back and take a 10,000-foot view. How does what you are doing fit into your department’s goals? Your company’s objectives? Could it impact your industry?


They are extroverted.

A CEO is the face of their company, but any C-Level executive can be called upon to speak in front of groups of all sizes. If the thought of giving a TED talk makes you want to hide rather than prepare your presentation, you may want to reconsider if the C-Suite is the right fit.

Exercise: Suppose you are given an opportunity to give a TED talk? What topic would you choose? How would you prepare? What steps would you take to ensure your topic could engage a wide audience — even those outside your industry?


They are creative.

Top executives often find solutions most would never dream of when faced with a vexing problem. If the C-Suite is your target, it’s essential to develop your creativity.

Exercise: Take a problem you have encountered in the past and look for connections and new and innovative approaches that you may not have considered before. Investigate various brainstorming options such as brain mapping or free associating to see what you can come up with. It’s essential not to censor yourself at this stage. Select two or three ideas to develop further.

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