The C-Suite is Calling — Are You Ready For It?



So, you have your sights set on the big prize — the head honcho, the top dog, the big enchilada … the c-suite.

Great! Let’s talk more about that. Whether you find that your progress has stalled, or that the possibility of a c-suite position sounds intriguing, the articles below will help you lay out a concise and effective strategy for accomplishing your ambitious goals.

And hey, even if you aren’t angling for that big position, most (probably all) of the advice in these articles will set you up for success in any role or circumstance.

Here are five articles on how to enter the c-suite.

1. Four keys for reaching the c-suite.

If your biggest aspirations include getting to the c-suite, then you’ll want to start by cultivating these four key areas of readiness as defined by William Pasmore for the Center for Creative Leadership. His readiness parameters include experience readiness, personal readiness, network readiness, and relationship readiness. The important takeaway? Interpersonal relationships define three of the four areas. In other words, learn how to deal with people.

2. How to get on the shortlist for the c-suite.

Once you’ve done the work of making yourself a strong contender for the c-suite position, you want to work on making yourself one of the top potential candidates under consideration. This HBR article by Cassandra Frangos outlines simple, yet important, fundamentals to follow. They include timing, experience, impact, culture, broad support, and CEO chemistry. Don’t be surprised if you see a few of these elements pop up in any one of the other articles mentioned here.

3. Navigating the c-suite and managing relationships.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to pour over detailed research and analysis, you might enjoy this downloadable PDF from Deloitte. This study focuses on the importance of stakeholder buy-in coupled with effective communication techniques. There’s even a chart to illustrate the different business personality types and how to interact with them for maximum impact.

4. Four tips to ensure that you thrive as a successor-CEO. 

Transitioning from an out-going CEO to a new business leader will usher in an era of change for any company. According to this article by Entrepreneur, as the new CEO, the best transitions involve setting realistic expectations, using strong and effective communication techniques, taking decisive action, and establishing a strong culture. If you happen to be the newbie CEO, this article gives great advice on how to navigate uncharted waters with success.

5. How robots will transform the c-suite. 

It’s no surprise, robots will play a critical role throughout the evolution of the modern workforce. But how does this affect the top spot in a business? This article by Strategy + Business outlines some fascinating scenarios, as well as a breakdown for each chief officer position. It also includes a downloadable PwC study that examines the impact on senior management.

The one theme I found repeatedly throughout the articles was the importance of establishing a healthy culture early. And while culture can be a difficult area to change or impact, consider asking yourself what a high performance culture with you at the helm would look like. Then, take three of those techniques and start using them.


Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in ForbesThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

Christina Holloway