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how to become an executive? - Page 3

post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hombre Secreto View Post
Many executives are fucking idiots. They only got that position because of family ties, or a friend pulled strings to get them an executive position.

This. And they wouldn't know how to acquire / promote talent if it was staring them in the face. Look at it this way: Executives hire HR people, and we know how utterly incompetent HR people are.
post #32 of 48
^ Oh please, if they were all idiots than they would be canned.
post #33 of 48
These are two great posts. Thanks. For a threak with an awful title, this one delivered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Herbert View Post
Be excellent at your job
Be excellent at the politics
Be good at self promoting without seeming like a self promotor
Be proactive in getting role changes to chase the experience you need. You may not know what experience you need until you get it.

and a liberal sprinkling of luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post
Although there are many paths from sleeping your way to the top, having the executive team's jet go down and you being the sole survivor, here are my humble two cents (in no particular order):

1. Network. All power in an organization rests with individuals; your peers, your boss, your boss' boss, etc. (Note here, advice is to network to get sht done, not network as in social schmoozing. There is a huge difference.)

2. Over-delegate.

3. Hire well.

4. Coach well. Invest in your people.

5. Be a part of whatever raison d'etre your company does. Makes money is better. So if you're in a company that sells toilet paper, you *have* to get yourself into that chain, preferably sales,

Years ago one of my consulting colleagues put it well, at the end of the day someone has to tell people what to do. If you can put together the bases / reference points to do that, you should do fine. Just be aware that what appears on the org chart and the true flow of institutional power / decisions are often very different.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post
^ Oh please, if they were all idiots than they would be canned.
That is certainly true in some companies, but most of them have mediocre people in their HR departments and they tend to hire mediocre people. People that can do clerical work just well enough not to get canned. Or, that is at least how it is done in the current industry I work in, YMMV.
post #35 of 48
Start your own company. Declare yourself president and CEO. You are now an executive.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
That is certainly true in some companies, but most of them have mediocre people in their HR departments and they tend to hire mediocre people. People that can do clerical work just well enough not to get canned. Or, that is at least how it is done in the current industry I work in, YMMV.

If you think you can do it better, show them.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post
Although there are many paths from sleeping your way to the top, having the executive team's jet go down and you being the sole survivor, here are my humble two cents (in no particular order):

1. Network. All power in an organization rests with individuals; your peers, your boss, your boss' boss, etc. Most of your colleagues are divided into two camps - those who want to get ahead and those who are in support and happy at their level (HR, Finance, IT, etc.). Having the political acumen to get all their disparately motivated intentions on your side will impress the hell out of your boss and show that you can do his or her job. Politics = collaboration. The more relationships you have, the more trust you build, the less resistance you'll have when you need their support. Even if you have a plan that proves numerically and logically it'll save the entire company, half the company will fight you because you lack a relationship with them. Persuasion is more than just showing the facts. Success at the executive level is about relationships *and* results. Doing just the latter won't open that final door.

2. Over-delegate. Those that make it to the executive rank typically delegate like crazy - anything and everything that comes across their desk. People get mired in middle management because they still do actual "work"; i.e. you're putting in GL entries or reconciling when you're a Finance manager. Delegation develops staff.

3. Hire well. People who tend to get promoted up and above middle management are the ones who exhibit the ability to hire great people. Other peer managers will be raving "God that guy has some great people on his team" or "Where does he find these people?!"

4. Coach well. Invest in your people. Develop a relationship with them. You give opportunities for your folks to shine. They get promoted. You care about them and won't throw them under a bus. A great coaching leader is somewhat like a good sergeant, he takes care of them compensation wise, has a great relationship with his directs (down to each direct's children's names) and knows their personality and character and what motivates them. If you talk to a successful executive's directs, they'll probably say, "Man is it tough to work for XYZ but it's so worth it in the end." You want to cultivate a situation where your team will sacrifice and do things for the sarge so they'll keep charging up hills for you.

5. Be a part of whatever raison d'etre your company does. All great managers can have stellar results but your results will be known if you're part of the company that makes money or saves money. Makes money is better. So if you're in a company that sells toilet paper, you *have* to get yourself into that chain, preferably sales, if not then at least making the toilet paper, because sitting in HR talking about how you kept retention at the company close to 100% matters less to the powers that promote people compared to if you increased top or bottom line for them.

During my internships I always try to network with higher ups and ask how they got there, these are the exact things they've said. Although, number 6 was "luck" but I think that a whole lot of luck is created by the person who is experiencing it. This is a great post.

I was talking to one of the legal VP's (I'm interning with a big pharma company) where I'm working and he said something interesting... That he has high standards and only takes on the best employees he can find, and anyone who isn't pulling their weight has to go. But that's not the interesting part, the interesting part is that he values his employees so much that he refuses to allow any of them to be a scapegoat or take blame for any mistakes. He said after his employees watch him take the blame for their mistakes, they are willing to work night and day (literally) to ensure they don't happen again.

I'd like thoughts from people here who might be executives on this sort of management style, it sounds very reasonable but in other aspects it could be risky especially if there are other people out there who want your blood. If you're not indispensable and have very powerful friends, I could see this style, on occasion, backfiring. Although I could also see myself wanting to do it, as it seems like an extremely strong and respectable trait.
post #38 of 48
The best way to get ahead is to be adept at making your boss look good, whatever that might mean in any given situation, meeting numbers, doing your job well, dressing well in his/her company, giving support, constructive criticism (to a point, always discreetly), being loyal, being cheerful and inspiring others to follow your method; in short, be likable.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post
3. Hire well. People who tend to get promoted up and above middle management are the ones who exhibit the ability to hire great people. Other peer managers will be raving "God that guy has some great people on his team" or "Where does he find these people?!"

This one is really important. Great post, fwiffo.
post #40 of 48
Thread Starter 
hey fwiff, are you an exec yet?
post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hombre Secreto View Post
Many executives are fucking idiots. They only got that position because of family ties, or a friend pulled strings to get them an executive position.

Yes, better to put people with a low IQ as ministers as socialist does. And you support that.

Who is born to be the king , a cat or a lyon? You put cats on the chair...
post #42 of 48
Fwiffo and Manton have it correct. I'll add one aspect that nobody has mentioned:

- If you are trying to promote yourself (ie. get a better job, better title, higher up towards executive) you can possibly do it faster if you LEAVE the company you are at after a couple of years if you don't get promoted. Another company might very well be willing to promote you IF you have skills they need. What skills? Well, specific things pertaining to the job and your industry.

- But the #1 most important thing has already been mentioned in this thread. If you are part of the MONEY MAKING process, your value goes wayyyy up. Did you bring in a new client? Did you streamline a process that freed up 5 FTEs (full time employees) and allow them to do other things? (I've done that more than once... which can put 5 FTEs out of a job.... but it makes the company money)


But if you really want life satisfaction, in my opinion you have to do what Manton said. It might read like a flip one liner, but it's not. I did it and am very, very glad I did.
post #43 of 48
Soft hands.
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post
If you think you can do it better, show them.

You can't show people who are unwilling to see.
post #45 of 48
Threads like these are why I love styleforum. Snide one liners, interspersed with intelligent, well thought out useful posts.
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