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Executive Ambitions

Episode description

Do you want the corner office someday? Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of Mike Troiano, a venture capitalist and former executive. They talk through what to do when you’re falling off the executive track, you’re moving up but don’t believe in the company’s strategy, or you have a rival who could block your path to the C-suite.

From Alison and Dan’s reading list:

HBR: What Makes an Effective Executive by Peter Drucker — “An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders.”

Medium: How To Be An Executive by Mike Troiano — “Back in the day you became an executive over time, carefully cultivated in the corporate hierarchy like a meat-eating houseplant. But that’s all changed now. Corporate hierarchy ain’t what it used to be, and if you go off and start a company, you get the title overnight.”

HBR: How to Get on the Shortlist for the C-Suite by Cassandra Frangos — “Rotating around the organization gives you a balance of experience. It also pressure-tests you in multiple environments and delivers a broader perspective. At Cisco, we prepare candidates for top slots by using executive assessments to identify strengths and development areas and by giving individuals strategic assignments to fill experience voids and provide greater exposure opportunities.”

HBR: What Sets Successful CEOs Apart by Elena Lytkina Botelho, Kim Rosenkoetter Powell, Stephen Kincaid, and Dina Wang— “Typically we see ‘take no prisoners’ CEOs last only as long as the company has no choice but to submit to shock therapy. These CEOs often get ousted as soon as the business emerges from crisis mode—they lose the support of their teams or of board members who’ve grown tired of the collateral damage. It’s no coincidence that the careers of turnaround CEOs are frequently a series of lucrative two- to three-year stints; they put out the fires and then move on to the next assignment.”

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