There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for getting on the C-suite shortlist, but there are some steps you can take to help raise your chances, says a recent Harvard Business Review article from Cisco Systems VP Cassandra Frangos.

  • Gain a breadth of knowledge across the business. Rotating around the organization in different functional roles gives you a balance of experience and pressure-tests you in multiple environments.
  • Demonstrate that you can get results in a high-stakes environment. Drive change through disruption. Use your problem-solving skills to turn things around when a business or function fails to perform. Know the business well enough to preserve what works and leverage the momentum for future growth.
  • Make sure you fit into the corporate culture. A culture clash can ruin your shot at a top spot, no matter your other qualifications.
  • Address any shortcomings revealed by your 360 assessments, as it’s difficult to rise to the top of any company without universal trust and support. You need multiple advocates and allies at all levels of an organization to get to the C-suite.
  • Show the high-level decision-makers (the CEO and board) how your personal experiences will complement and complete the C-suite team. It’s all about chemistry.
  • Put your name in the game and state your ambition for a C-suite position. If you don’t take a risk by making your objective known, no one else will.

See the full HRB article: “How to Get on the Shortlist for the C-Suite.”