Targeting the C-Suite: 6 Strategies for Career Advancement

Climb the Corporate Ladder Faster

Are you doing everything you can to make it to the top?  The key to success is to understand the talent landscape and then strategically lay out a plan to advance your career. Here are 6 strategies to propel your career forward:

1. Determine Who’s at the Front of the Line

“Know how long you’ll be in line. If you are the number two executive and the current C-suite leader is young, well-liked, and only two years into her tenure, you’re looking at a lengthy wait. Conversely, if you’re the heir apparent and your boss has said he would like to do something new in one to two years, your time may be close at hand” recommends Cisco Systems’ Cassandra Frangos, VP Global Executive & Organizational Development. (Source: Harvard Business Review: How to Get on the Shortlist for the C-Suite)

2. Build a Strategic Focus

Making it to the C-Suite requires that you go beyond your functional role according to Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Broaden your experience and reputation by taking on stretch assignments.  And don’t be afraid to step up and state your desire to take on a more challenging leadership role delivering key initiatives, such as a merger or acquisition, or managing a new subsidiary.

3. Raise Your Profile 

Too often we have our heads down immersed in the critical demands of our roles, but it is important to also be organizationally savvy – that is, to be keenly aware of what’s going on across the organization. Networking within your division is great but expanding that network across the organization will produce better results faster. As you make these connections, listen in to learn about the critical issues impacting other divisions and determine how you can collaborate to deliver results.

4. Build a Roster of Champions

There is an abundance of influence at your disposal when you create a network of champions to support your career success. These invaluable connections can help open doors by promoting your achievements and being your advocate.

5. Know Yourself

Consider your leadership style and play to it to carve out your unique and value-added brand.  HBR highlights three unique styles. Are you a ‘disrupter’ who shakes up organizations and drives change?  A ‘turnaround leader’ who fixes failing operations? Or, are you a ‘stabilizer,’ called on to maintain profitability and growth in mature businesses?  Figure out your leadership sweet spot and use it to achieve results that make you stand out as C-Suite potential.

6. Close Your Gaps

In addition to understanding your strengths, also determine your development areas and work quickly to close the gap. Ask your manager and your mentors for critical feedback as to how you are perceived as a leader, what your strengths are and, most importantly, your leadership blindspots?

Then, be proactive about bridging the distance between where you are and where you’d like to be.  Work with your manager, mentor or an Executive Coach to devise strategies to close the gap.  By doing so you demonstrate to senior leaders you know how to work with criticism, are focused on learning and developing, and have the willingness and capability to address challenges and grow from them. 

Making it to the top of the corporate ladder requires more than just grit and determination. It takes planning and the ability to think long-term and big-picture. These career advancement tips can launch you on the trajectory to the career growth you desire.

Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional.  She has a reputation as a highly sought after Career Consultant and she has been referred to as "an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement.” Joanne provides leadership coaching as well as career transition coaching, career planning workshops, and job search services (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and interview practice) for Professionals and Executives. Copyright 2018 JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.

Accelerate your Performance and Enhance your Success

Joanne Loberg, Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional, is committed and highly skilled in supporting executives and emerging leaders to envision, strategize and accelerate their career success.

Coaching focuses on strategies for excelling in organizations and overcoming road blocks to success. Joanne asks challenging questions that provide insight and clarity. Once your goals are articulated, Joanne coaches you to develop and implement strategies that deliver results.

Let’s connect for a complimentary 20-minute telephone consultation to determine what you can do to move your career forward.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc

© 2004-2013 JL Careers, Vancouver BC, Canada

JL Careers provides Career and Leadership Coaching, Career Development Workshops, and Career Transition Services which support organizational succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement strategies.