11 Career Tips for Successful CEOs

Having worked with hundreds of CEOs in my 29-year career as a recruiter for private equity firms, I’ve seen patterns of what investors look for in successful CEO hires. Here are 11 tips for success as a CEO.

  1. Maintain your collegiate achievements, military honors and industry awards together with any C-Level accomplishment files & performance rewards.
  2. Read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie as early in life as you can.
  3. Try to earn an MBA in your chosen field, e.g. Management, Marketing, HR, Finance or IT. Currently, there are online MBA Degrees and one year MBA Degrees available.
  4. Learn to understand a company’s financial statements regardless of your C-Level job.
  5. Cultivate solid relationships with other C-Level functions in your company. Learn to be a good listener.
  6. Develop good working relationships with your key current & future references, e.g. your boss(es), peers and subordinates. Never gossip and avoid company politics.
  7. Maintain a professional relationship with your subordinates. Need a friend? Buy a dog. Familiarity breeds contempt.
  8. Manage by setting mutual goals and objectives and regularly measuring performance.
  9. Learn what steps to take to terminate a chronic non-performer the right way without being sued.
  10. Keep taking any worthwhile training, course, seminar or workshop to be current in your competencies.
  11. Remain in touch with your key references after job changes. Get mutual updates. Ideally, send each your latest resume and ask them for a two paragraph written reference verifying your employment time together. Securing solid key references in writing is the most important step a job hunter can take in advancing their career.

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