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  • Becoming “CEO”

    Being touted too soon as the heir apparent will magnify any minor gaffes you make. You also risk creating factions because “co-workers often spend time unproductively trying to figure out how the succession will play out

    You’re competing against colleagues in a horse race for a plum executive post. Everyone likes your work, so you expect to win.

    You’re wrong. It takes more than superior performance to cross the finish line nowadays, as corporate boards have increased their focus on management succession. At the same time, boards rarely divulge the additional requirements that executives must meet to land a senior spot.

    “Most companies do a really bad job of communicating what people need to win,” says John Beeson, a succession-planning consultant and author of “The Unwritten Rules,” a book about executive advancement. “You usually are operating in the dark in a horse race.”

    It’s such a mystery that recruiters Spencer Stuart even compiled a handbook for internal candidates. Many questions “arise in the high-stakes dynamics of executive appointments,” the 10-page document says. Nearly 20 companies have used the guide since 2009, estimates James M. Citrin, co-head of Spencer Stuart’s CEO and board practice.

    Contests to pick the next chief executive are raging inside big businesses such as Ford Motor Co., Intel Corp., Pepsico Inc. and Walt Disney Co. Though a number of companies hire outsiders, moving up still represents the most common route to the top.

    I sought strategies for winning a horse race from executives who’ve run oneā€”plus recruiters, directors and coaches. Each cited numerous little-known rules that you should heed while vying to become a C-suite executive or subsidiary president. Among them:

    Avoid premature coronation in the media.

    Being touted too soon as the heir apparent will magnify any minor gaffes you make. You also risk creating factions because “co-workers often spend time unproductively trying to figure out how the succession will play out,” warns Greg Brenneman, a former CEO of Burger King Corp. and two other concerns. He has observed multiple horse races as a director of four public companies.

    Mark Fields, president of Ford’s operations in North and South America, already broke this rule. He’s considered a candidate to succeed Alan Mulally, who will likely leave his post at auto maker within two years. Last month, Mr. Fields cooperated on a prominent New York Times profile. “Ford’s Mr. Inside, In Sight of the Crown,” its headline read.

    Read Full Article in Wall Street Journal.com

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals
    calvin.wilson1@verizon.net
    http://twitter.com/Upstart__Nation

    Filed Under: Management

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