Monday, February 16, 2009

How To Become CEO

CEO BookI read a book this weekend by Jeffrey Fox titled How to Become CEO: The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization. I eventually do want to run whatever company I may be working for so I figured I would pick up this book to see what it had to offer.  The book offers several short tips that can be summed up in one sentence.  These tips range from "See the Job through the Salespeople's Eyes" to "Homework, Homework, Homework".   This tip is the title of each small chapter.  The chapter, in one or two pages, goes slightly deeper to explain what is really meant by the advice.

The good thing about the book is that it small and very easy to read.  I finished the book in about an hour, maybe less than that.  I agree with much of the advice, and disagree with some others.  But having never been a CEO, perhaps I am not the best person to really judge the veracity or the efficacy of the advice given in the book.  Here are some of the better pieces of advice, and some of the worse.

The Good:

  • Always take the job that Offers the Most Money - It is the first tip and I agree with this one.   Many will tell you to follow your passion, but if you want to rise to the top quickly, you should take the job that pays the most money.  The reason for their advice? You are more visible to upper management, you will be expected to do more and thus be given more responsibility, and all things being equal, it is easier to give the promotion to the higher paid employee.

  • Keep Physically Fit -While I agree with it, I will admit to falling behind in this one.  Strong body = Strong mind.

  • Don't have a drink with the gang - I never drink with coworkers.  There is absolutely no upside to this and there is only downside.  If you get drunk, it shows a lack of control, and leaders are always in control.  Most people do not get this one, but it is one I agree with.

  • Know everybody by first name - People really appreciate that you know who they are and what they do.  It is crucial to get

  • Always say "Yes" to a Senior Executive Request - Even if it is crazy, you should try to figure out what the problem actually is and attempt to solve it.  People who get the job done get the top jobs.

  • Never surprise your boss - This is very important.  You cannot let your boss look foolish and if you surprise her, she will.  Your ascent to the top requires that your boss speaks well of you.  She will not if she does not trust you.

  • Never Panic or Lose your Temper - Leaders do not panic. They remain calm in front of any crisis.

  • Don't be an Empire Builder - This one is counter-intuitive but I totally agree with it.  Most people think the only way to become more important is to have more people under you.  I disagree.  You need to produce, and producers can win no matter what their resources look like.  They can do more with less.

The Bad:

  • Skip all Office Parties - The reasoning on this is do not mix business with pleasure.  Parties are for pleasure, so you should not mix the two.

  • Don't take work Home from the Office - The reasoning on this is sound.  Your family comes first and you should be able to manage your time such that this is unnecessary.  Just do not know if I can ever get behind this idea.

  • Don't get Buddy-Buddy with Your Superiors - And the same goes for your workers.  This one is hard for me.  One I'm trying to get a better grasp of.  I do agree with it to some degree but not fully.  The book actually does not give sound reasoning on why this is such a bad idea, it just states it as fact.

There are several more that are probably worth mentioning but I won't recite the whole book here. Go check it out. Like I said, it is a quick read, and one that is at least worth the 45 minutes it will take you to read through it.

1 comment:

  1. I attended a leadership seminar and the two things I walked away with were: (1) always speak calmly and slowly to express confidence and authority and (2) do NOT make a fool of yourself at parties by over drinking or telling distasteful jokes (Your colleagues will remember no matter how much you think they have been drinking!).