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4 Steps To Success As The CEO Of You

4 Steps To Success As The CEO Of You

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This post is part of the Professional Independence Project series.

Much has been written—by myself and others—about the need for companies to add more women to their leadership teams and corporate boards. When we count women’s representation in the United States, women fill less than 20% of leadership position and corporate board seats—even though we represent about 50% of the workforce. I am tired of counting women. It is time for ‘Women to Count.’

Today, I promote all of you to be “CEO of You, Inc.” You are responsible for who you are AND for who you want to be. As CEO, your primary responsibility is to establish a vision for ‘ You, Inc.,’ develop the strategy/plan to make it happen, and then execute your plan.

In other words, you are  responsible for “making things happen for you rather than letting things happen to you.” I learned this lesson the hard way… when I didn’t get promoted to a manager position when I expected to.

Many women have proven that they can ‘make things happen.’ Take Susan B. Anthony and her struggle to achieve women’s right to vote in 1920. Or Amelia Earhart who pioneered women in aviation in the 1930’s. And others like Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinam, Hillary Clinton, and even Emma Watson who, at 24 years old is the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and launched a campaign called “HeForShe” at the UN. Can you imagine speaking about feminism and fighting for women’s rights at the age of 24 at the UN?

We are all hear for a reason, to make the world a better place for our ourselves, our daughters and granddaughters.The key to our success is to ‘Be the CEO of You, Inc.’ and make change happen

So, let’s get started.

What are your aspiration? What are your plans to get there?  Who is on your team to help you make it happen?

Here is my story. After I realized that I needed to be the CEO of Me, Inc., I established my goal—to be a partner at Andersen Consulting in six years. My mentor told me that my product (me) needed to have the right skills and responsibilities. In other words, he said: you need to have performed as a partner before you will get promoted. In other words, I had to do the job that I wanted, before I would get it.

The key to success is to set achievable goals, develop a plan to reach your goals, surround yourself with people who will help you, and – most importantly – be the CEO of You, Inc. This is about ‘making things happen for your rather than letting things happen to you.

4 Steps To Success As The CEO Of You

There are four important steps to get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. I have just promoted you to CEO of You, Inc. Here are the steps to attain your success:

1. Develop your ‘end in mind.’

Every CEO needs a strategy,  an “end in mind” for her company. Do you have a strategy for You, Inc? Write  an e-mail to yourself describing what you are doing in five years. Be specific, but don’t over-complicate it.

For example: In five years, I will have my graduate degree in business and I will be a manager in finance for a Fortune 500 company specializing in consumer products. The more specific you are about what you want to be doing, the easier it will be to develop a plan to make it happen. Additionally, I have found that once you have your aspiration, you will begin talking about it to your mentors and others, letting them know where you want to take your career.

As you talk with others, get their advice, and with experience, you will make changes to your strategy, which is good. This is much better than if you are just mulling your success over in your head.

2. Build your team.

Plautus said, “no one is wise enough by himself.” Therefore, it is critical for you to have a team to help you achieve your plans. And it is critical that you select the right people. They are people who will see further then you do, or in a different way “see around the corners.” As the leader , you will be able to gain experience from them. Additionally, as you begin to change your plan, you may need to consider changing your team.

3. Develop an annual plan with quarterly goals.

Your plan provides the tasks and short-term goals to get to where you want to be. Review these goals quarterly and make adjustments—to your ‘end in mind’ and/or your plan.  Continually revisit and reevaluate your plan to make adjustments as needed. Do this to make sure you stay on target.

It is important to know that your plan will change, but if you don’t have a plan, how do you know where you are and where you are going?

4. Execute your plan everyday.

Begin to execute your plan on a daily basis. For instance, what experiences can I gain today to build my product for promotion? Perhaps there are responsibilities I need to ask for that will provide me exposure to executives who need to get to know me, or there are particular skills I need to enhance my resume. Additionally, it is always important to demonstrate the value you are delivering.

If you don’t work toward your goals every day, you’ll miss your goals for the quarter, for the year… and for your entire life. Take time to think about what you’re doing (and not doing). If you don’t have the skills and capabilities to reach your goals, find a way to obtain them (this might be from assistance from your board of directors).

Be sure to take time for YOU. Regularly assess where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. Make sure you’re heading in the right direction and moving at the right speed to get you where you want to be. And, don’t forget to have fun along the way!

Congratulations on accepting the role of CEO of You, Inc.  and for taking responsibility for who you are and who you want to be.

Want to take control of your career?

If you want to take control of your career, check out our fall series, the Professional Independence Project. Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing expert advice and insight on how you can build a successful career you love.

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Susan Bulkeley Butler Susan Bulkeley Butler is the CEO of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and author of two books, Become the CEO of You, Inc.: A Pioneering Executive Shares Her Secrets for Career Success and Women Count: A Guide to Changing the World. In 1965, Susan joined Arthur Andersen & Co. as the company’s first professional female employee and – 14 years later – was named the first female partner of the company’s consulting organization, Andersen Consulting, now known as Accenture. Before her retirement in 2002, Susan was Managing Partner for Accenture’s Office of the CEO. She also served as President of the Accenture Foundation and had a place in Accenture’s Executive Committee, the company’s principal advisory and strategy-setting committee.