Feeling like the final step to executive team is infinitely more competitive than any other step? Stop for a second and give yourself a moment, at this point it's only the best of the best – to make it to the top you're going to have to Top Gun.
Think about it like a funnel—you’re getting right to the top the narrowest part. The chokepoint where the opportunities are few and the competition fierce. Remember, only the best of the best are up here.
You’re competing almost exclusively with true professional peers. Those who have, like you, worked long and hard to reach this point in their careers.
This end of the funnel is more crowded than it has ever been—not only are their more “qualified” candidates, but sitting C-Level executives are waiting longer and longer to retire.
More competition + fewer opportunities = one hell of a time breaking through.
For most people, the road to an executive role starts at the same place:
An entry-level position.
In round terms, about 40% of those who start at this position earn a Team-Leader role at some point in their careers; 20% go on to become Managers; 5% become senior managers.
Less than 1% of people who start from the bottom ever become a General Manager, Director or Partner.
And if you’re in a labour-intensive industry or a conglomerate, this number plummets dramatically to 0.2%.
This steady distillation of business talent only continues at the next level.
In larger organisation only about 1 in 1000 (.001%) will move to the executive team. In a conglomerate that number might be closer to 1 in 5,000 (.0002%). With competition like this, to say getting ahead of the pack is “tough-going” is the understatement of the century.
To get where you want to go, your passion for both your work and your industry needs to radiate as powerfully as your talent. The elite few who successfully transition to a C-Level role have built strong, trusting relationships with other senior executives and the board on the back of sustained results in their areas.
Stand back assess the quality of your track-record and how you can improve that and the quality of your relationships across the industry's senior players.