When you aim your career at an executive position you might be a rather smart fellow. Meaning: you probably want to prepare and strategically take the right steps to get there. In order to know what’s necessary to make it, it’s useful to have some idea about what awaits you there. What is actually different about a C-level position and how can you prepare for these changes?
Less technical knowledge, more leadership skills
Throughout your career different skill-sets become more and less important. For C-Suite positions it’s become clear in different research (such as here) that functional and technical knowledge becomes less important but leadership and business development skills overshadow them by far. You might not even really need the technical knowledge anymore – at least not in detail – as long as you’re familiar with the processes and demands. Most of the times that doesn’t really mean you can slow down on keeping up with your industry but in addition you need to hone your soft skills. Before you know it you’ll be needing a lot of them.
Although the path to the C-Suite is constantly changing and might open up more ways to get into it, it also creates more different and more comprehensive sets of tasks and responsibilities. In fact the recent developments have shown that C-Suite positions e.g. in IT and Marketing call for skills in analytical, organizational and innovation areas that have simply not existed before. That leads to completely new C-Suite roles and results in an entirely different set of expectations along with it.
To prepare for such hybrid functions it’s necessary to keep and open mind and constantly develop your leadership skills. Not only you will have to adapt but you need to keep your team on track within an agile and dynamic environment. Prepare for the challenge.
The C-Suite is looking at constant change
This development will not slow down anytime soon. Digitalization requires more and more strategy-based approaches and less static ones even for formerly accounting-based functions as CFO. Business crosses borders and becomes international and more diverse and all in all the C-Suite works closer together.
Having a global mindset and reacting flexible to changing demands are fairly broad and abstract concepts but essentially incorporated in excellent leadership skills. Preparing for a C-Suite position has a lot to do with constantly (!) developing your leadership skills and staying up-to-date with what’s really going on in the company. So, in case you can’t already, learn to listen and communicate to the best of your abilities.