How to Become a CEO, in Three Easy Steps

Last Updated May 5, 2008 6:01 PM EDT

  • The Find: An HR consultancy has laid out the key skills for each rung on the career ladder, providing a road map for managers on their way up.
  • The Source: The recent "Pulse on Leaders" study from Personnel Decisions International (PDI).
The Takeaway: PDI researchers assessed more than 4,500 employees to see what skills were necessary for success in first level management roles, mid-level jobs, and director or executive level positions. Nothing PDI uncovered is particularly counter-intuitive, but by spelling out the sorts of experience managers need to reach the next rung up, the consultancy offers a road map to help managers acquire the skills they need for advancement.

Employees looking to move up to their first management positions should work on these skills:

  1. Standardizing processes and procedure both across and within units
  2. Improving the quality of products and services
To reach mid-level management, managers need to find "stretch assignments" that give them experience:
  1. Turning around a struggling unit
  2. Helping an employee overcome performance difficulties
And to get to the very top, managers need a background in:
  1. Resolving crises
  2. Restructuring business investments or debt
  3. Starting a new department, division, or function
For a more complete list of the key skills for each level, download a .pdf of the complete release at the PDI web site.
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.