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The E Factor: Journey from CXO to CEO Office

Siddharth Verma Siddharth Verma  | 

In an overly cluttering CXO space, over the last decade especially, what have been the limiting factors that very successful executives are just about there, but still unable to reach there? One of the more frequently attributable factor has been the functional line, for instance – that the biggest proportion goes to the Sales or Operations leaders. But within that pool? What makes it elusive, when in they are in the last leg? In those years the desire is lived through each day, and desperately attempted, before one technically crosses over to the next level of Maslow’s, with no other option in hand. If there is a missing attribute or two, and we discover it, can it be course corrected at this stage? May be. Looks tough though.

So, where’s the CEO School? What’s the syllabus?

It’s right here. And the schooling is happening right now, every minute. In my opinion, the journey from the ‘cXo’ to the ‘cEo’ is not covered in the last lap, but through our careers, and lives, each day. What plays a role in the final leg, the seeds of that have actually been sown long ago. And it takes time to get nourished each year, each quarter, every month. It develops, and becomes stronger. And shows up in that moment of choice. Let’s talk about these ‘Executive’ factors!

Keeping a host of sub factors of technical expertise (which is abundant in supply) aside, when I mentally summarize the Queen / King making attributes, the following distinguishing factors run through my mind as some of the top choices from a supposedly long list, and I would like to share these thoughts with you. We may note that the absence or deficiency of these might become the eventual constraining features for otherwise accomplished performers in their respective domains, but are seldom deliberated.

The Bigger Picture

Having an eye for detail is a blessing, yet not getting micro …elevates. The subtle conviction such leaders manufacture around themselves, takes organizational trust to a different level altogether, and people exude confidence, and they experience it. The name passively starts becoming the unanimous choice, an obvious choice, whether people speak about it or not. The relentless, incessant, childlike enthusiasm to connect the dots for each and everyone, and create the imagery for the proverbial brick-to-palace journey.

Managing the Gray

The immediate fruit of great expertise is the ability to distinguish the White from the Black, and there will always be situations in organizations when this tendency will be quite compelling. The E trait, if you observe, will invariably circumvent it. Howsoever tough, demanding, or baffling the situation might be, repeated episodes of solving without agitating, reinforce the claim. All these brownie points are get accumulated and accounted – whether acknowledged or not in the immediate context.

 Originality

The E office holders don’t live on borrowed thoughts. Nor do they imitate action. A rather bold statement to make! But that’s how it is. And hence they never run out of thoughts, ideas, and expressions. By the virtue of just living each day, the way they do, they become the ‘content’ of history, and their one-liners pass off as quotes and inspirations for generations. So how can I learn originality. I can’t learn originality. I can just be myself – the pure, undiluted, unadulterated version of myself. And express myself in the same manner. A drop, a day. And the dot painting shall emerge.

Gravitas, super omnia!

 This is the manifestation, the more optical E factor. And it cannot be mistaken. It sharply stands out – when it needs to. Like Rome, not built in day, but a byproduct of each year of a career. Brilliance many a times gives in against this factor of choice, you would have seen, and decisions seem unfair to many! It’s irresistible, and silences the opposition without making any noise.

Other than the school of thought that leaders are born, and it’s in the DNA, my assertion is that it’s all about basics. These time-tested attributes, are timeless per se. There is no short cut to the corner office. And the path is simple, yet demanding. Are you interested? Then you need to be present, each day. Especially, if the colour of your eyes is Brown, or Black. (Pun intended!)

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