December 12, 2010

The Young CEOs

Almost everyone who joins the corporate world starts with the dream of becoming a CEO one day, sooner than later, in their professional career.

It is, however, a harsh reality that majority of those who enter the corporate world will never reach the CEO position.

For becoming CEO, one must start on the “CEO Track” and more importantly, stay on the CEO Track during one’s career.

A CEO Track is one that connects an entry-level position to the CEO position eventually.

There are many who join in an entry-level position which is not on the CEO Track and hence will stand virtually no chance of ever reaching the CEO position barring a helpful intervention by mother luck.

The entry-level positions which are not on the CEO Track are generally in support functions like HR, Administration, etc.

There are many who join in an entry-level position which is on the CEO Track and hence stand a good chance of reaching the CEO position.

However, being on the CEO Track doesn’t guarantee that one will reach the CEO position since the corporate world is like a pyramid and the CEO positions are in perpetual scarcity.

Most of those who are on the CEO Track will generally meet the following fate as they will lack “CEO Material”:
  • Stagnate at a certain position and retire well before becoming CEO
  • Move out as CEO of another organization (which will generally be a smaller organization)
  • And at worst, linger on and get laid off one fine day (all positions in an organization are subject to redundancy due to the uncertain business climate that envelops the corporate world – recession, acquisition, restructuring, facilities shutdown or relocation, product or service discontinuation, etc.)

Finally, there are those who by virtue of being “CEO Material” will eventually get promoted to the CEO position. Those who eventually become CEO become part of an exclusive club.

Many of those who become CEOs will take time to reach the CEO position and will generally be of a ripe age by the time they become CEO.

However, there are those also who will manage to become CEOs at a young age.

They may be self-made, successful, young entrepreneurs-turned-CEOs like Bill Gates of Microsoft or professional managers like Jack Welch of GE (who get on to the fast track career path and end up becoming CEO at an early age).

The young CEOs are a class apart.

They are the chosen ones who not only realize their dream of becoming a CEO one day in their professional career but also realize that dream at an early age so that they have sufficient time to enjoy the fruits of their accomplishments in the corporate world.

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