I want to be CEO! Now!Roger Quinn ▼ | August 8, 2008
If you plan your career carefully the position of CEO is certainly among your wishes. That's good because there's no point in wishing to stop in the middle of the road. If you work hard and know your job there is just one obstacle that can stop you on your way up. Strange as it may seem, that's not angry co-worker, bad competition, economic conditions, lousy products... You will survive that. Your worst enemy is impatience. Let's see why that's the Career Enemy No1.
While you are working from day to day it is easy to lose patience. As a manager you are in the middle. Above you, there are top managers, stakeholders or owners, or all they together, and every one of them make pressure on you and expect results. The CEO wants good productions and profit, the owner want nice operating margin, and stakeholders want good return on their investment. Below you, there are plenty of workers and each of them has dreams, hopes, families and duties at work.
As as manager that tends to go up, you must find the fine balance between those two group and you must stay, to put it that way, alive. Since every working day is very competitive and manager must think about thousand things at the same time, from production to human relations to sales, it is easy for impatience to show its evil spirit.
"It's enough! I'm working so hard, so good, and I want better position!" When that thought comes to you, be very careful for head-hunters and other companies will show in your life in that precise moment. They will come to you and they'll give you an offer that you can't refuse. One of that offer may be the position of the CEO. If you answer "I do" immediately, without much thinking, the chances are that your career is in danger.
You see, there is a big difference between knowing what a CEO is doing and doing it every day. When such offer comes, stop for a while and ask yourself once again: "What does it mean to be CEO?" Remember that his duty is to lead a whole company, maybe in several countries. Recall that he is responsible to company's stakeholders and to workers and their families. He is also responsible to nature and community.
And then ask yourself: "Do I have enough experience?" And let you answer be honest. If you feel that you don't have required experience say thanks and stay where you are. If you are not satisfied with your current work, consider higher position in your or some other company.
But don't go up too fast. A very good path is to accept the position of the CEO in a small company. That way you will have a chance to learn what the magic word CEO really means and what kind of problems it carries with it.
The bottom lines is: Don't allow your impatience to lead you. Stop for a while, think and remember that the first CEO offer will not be the last. If you don't take "the offer that can't be refused", there will be another one. Build your career patiently, step by step, that is the only way to build a long and successful career. And you will be CEO, no doubt about it. ■