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Looking to Become CEO? Here Are Three Ways to Get to the Top


Researchers conducted a 10-year study to learn what it takes to become the next CEO of your company.


Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell studied over 17,000 C-suite executives as part of the CEO Genome Project and discovered that rising to the top isn’t what you would expect. It actually had nothing to do with having a business degree from an Ivey League school or having a perfect track record.


Researchers identified three “catapults” that allowed 97% of those they studied to reach CEO status.


1. Making a big leap.

Over one-third of those who were researched took a huge leap within the first decade of their careers. The study notes that rather than questioning whether or not they were qualified for the opportunity, these CEOs took a chance at something that was way beyond their expertise. By doing this they actually learned on the job and ended up gaining way more experience than they would have – which helped them succeed later in their careers.


2. Cleaning up a big mess.

The research found that over 30% of CEOs led a team through a messy situation. These CEOs were able to prove themselves through a difficult time, take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. They were able to assess the situation in a calm manner, make decisions under pressure, take careful risks, and rally their team.


3. Don’t be afraid to go small.

The study found that 60% of CEOs took on a smaller role with greater responsibility at some point in their career. These CEOs were able to get a lot of management experience through working for a smaller company or moving to a leadership role in a young team.


References: CNBC


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