How to Build an Executive Leadership Development Plan

Running a company involves far more than just availing a specific good or service to the public. Indeed, it also requires more than simply convincing customers of your suitability and branding.

To make your business sustainable in a highly volatile marketplace and ensure profits and longevity, your company – like all businesses – requires strategic leadership.

And the impact here can hardly be overstated. Leadership development is a multi-billion-dollar industry with countless schools, experts, and programs, and discourse awash with theories and models meant to suit businesses of all scales.

Why?

Well, it’s quite simple. Focused leadership demands long-term thinking about market needs, consumer needs, employee productivity, and of course, profits. Which, in turn, demands an important conceptual tool: a leadership plan.

What Is a Leadership Development Plan?

Understanding Executive Development Plans

Simply put, leadership development involves the adoption of certain activities in your company to improve the quality of its leadership and labor competency.

It’s the process of equipping supervisory and managerial staff with the skills and conceptual tools needed to see themselves towards sustainable profitability and success. Generating this kind of positive change within a company’s inner workings requires a well-defined plan. A leadership growth plan.

There are plenty of elements involved in such a plan, as we’re about to see, but first — some stats.

A recent survey report by PriceWaterHouseCoopers established that:

The same survey also established that while those at the helm displayed an abundance of critical thought when it came to the more analytical aspects of company management — they lacked severely in the emotional quotient department.

That is to say, they personally lacked the necessary tools to “get through” to their teams by painting as clear a picture as possible of their company vision

Most companies, even those with a solid profit record, experience substantial setbacks — particularly during periods of change (internal or external) — if not steered by well-equipped leaders.

If you’re interested in placing yourself at a competitive vantage, a leadership plan is a vital flag you need to plant to meet both human and strategic company needs. 

And, there are many potential payoffs of adopting a strategic plan within your company.

Why Is a Leadership Growth Plan So Important?

It Leads to Better Fiscal Performance

A growth plan adopted by business departments with able leaders is bound to result in better fiscal performance — the spoils of which can then be reinvested into the company.

Likewise, a well-structured leadership, innovation, and decision-making strategy is a necessary tool for senior executive management to drive up the likelihood of a company’s success. 

While it’s important to map out the right business strategy or program, both these strategies will work for any organizational structure. And they work even better when adopted simultaneously. 

In taking the time to understand what your organization needs from its leaders, you will better understand the business strategy that works best for you. These two strategies go hand-in-hand: developing one will help in achieving the other. 

Regardless of your field of business, all companies are bound to reap heavily from cultivating leadership skills within their organization and prioritizing leadership in their company culture. Senior executive leaders who have the right innovation and strategy skills inspire the same in their workforce.

It Leads to More Hands-on, Agile Corporate Management

A company with effective executive/senior management can wade through the commercial environment, complex and dynamic as it is, and come up with quick and effective solutions to problems as they arise. 

Executive leadership development equips leaders to think on their feet and adapt to an ever-changing corporate environment. 

It Helps Attract, Retain and Motivate Your Workforce

A well-structured executive leadership plan inspires active engagement from your staff. 

Well-trained senior executives are more likely to attract, keep, and appropriately remunerate a talented workforce — resulting in consistent satisfaction among staff. 

Further, an innovation and vision plan executed with the employee in mind will inspire loyalty among staff. This is particularly true of programs that provide growth opportunities for the more academically-inclined members of staff. 

An executive leadership plan that fosters appropriate communication channels within teams is bound to scale up profits within a company. 

Which is why it’s so important to foster a team of executives that can attract and retain a worthwhile workforce. 

It Facilitates Internal & External Company Communication

A company’s communication channels determine how quickly deadlines can be met, problems solved, and plans made good on. 

When your executive management team makes active steps to foster a marketplace of ideas — your company will benefit from faster task execution, a spike in production, and a more satisfied workforce. 

Moreover, the positive engagement and morale within your workforce are more likely to flow through to your customers. 

What Are the Goals of an Effective Executive Leadership Plan?

Heighten a Manager’s Sense of Responsibility

The mark of a worthy leader lies in their ability to account for their deeds (and the subsequent consequences). In short: their responsibility

This means that they can examine the outcomes of their decisions and appreciate the lessons gleaned from both success and failure. 

A leadership plan will also foster the ability to stand back and objectively assess and learn from the effects of their decisions — whether positive or negative. 

Instill Self-discipline Within Trainees 

A well-trained leader knows that tough decisions directly affecting the bottom line should ultimately benefit the company or organization rather than the individual. 

Yet another mark of sustainable executive leadership is the ability to reflectively assess all available options. And, using the right metrics and criteria, to objectively choose what’s really best for the company. 

Foster Active Communication Within the Organization

Pro-tip: Incredible ideas and hands-on mentorship won’t do you much good if your leadership’s communication is sub-par.

But the thing is, gaining the right communication skills is an endeavour that needs effort and time. 

But when adequately honed, your skills should equip you to understand how and when to use persuasion, build a rapport with your staff, understanding when and how to exercise persuasion, as well as improve conflict resolution skills.

Also, it’s vital to cultivate listening culture at the topmost rungs of company leadership. Each team member can offer the management important input that can bear directly on everyday company decisions. 

Active listening coupled with a well-cultivated space for discussion in a company will do you more good than you’d think. 

Add More Conceptual Knowledge on Executive Leadership

Leaders must be generally well-rounded; they ought to have a diverse set of skills across many competences. 

A leader who is willing to take the time to learn new fields, especially those that might not necessarily directly relate to their mandate, will certainly have an edge over most other companies and will be able to solve problems in an agile and creative way.

Improve the Trainee’s Inner Clock

The most ineffective leader is hands down the sort that can’t keep to a schedule; that’s are constantly running late on deadlines. 

A leader who is able, on the other hand, to make and stick to strict time frames is automatically a good template on which the rest of the team can model a work ethic. 

Promote a Work Environment That Fosters Mentorship

Yet another important attribute of a good leader is to foster leadership in others. 

A well-trained leader should be able to hone these skills in staff members and foster a culture of leadership development culture within the company. 

Possible ways to achieve this could be: soliciting for feedback, coaching, and imparting staff with precise skills for challenging workloads. 

Instill a Sense of Long-term Strategizing 

Two words. Analytical thinking. Good teamwork and effective problem-solving require a leader who is able to factor in the entire team in the long-term — not only immediately, but at the end as well. 

Together with the preceding points, these goals will help you determine the precise training and plans that ought to be most effective for your company. 

Examples of Leadership Development Programs/Executive Education Programs

Here are some methods of executing your leadership development plan:

Interpersonal Skills: Conferences for Executives

To cultivate a team of workers with vision in your company, you’ll need to invest in your leaders. One way of doing this is providing them with access to events and conferences that provide skills training on delegation and strategic decision-making. 

Indeed, this is the sort of thing that demands resources, both monetary and temporal, but any company that wishes to reap the benefits of a motivated and well-equipped labor force would be well advised to invest in this kind of  immersive vision and learning experience.

Other examples of suchlike leadership training events include general presentations, conference intensives, and breakout forums. These will give your company staff a chance to hone their communication, relationship and interpersonal skills. 

Strategic Exposure: Meetings, University Classes & Workshops

A well-governed company needs to be managed by a visible and involved leadership team. What this means is, leaders ought to seek out ways of applying their supervisory skills. They can do this by seeking out forums that can earn them exposure, both outside and inside the organisation. 

Your leaders must be publicly visible, but that’s often a big responsibility when they have so much on their plates already. Strategically seek out opportunities for your leaders to gain exposure. Help your leaders get used to the exposure required when spearheading company projects, both inside and outside the organization. 

What this kind of leadership exposure does is, it provides senior managers with the skills needed to address staff members publicly and give them valuable feedback when need arises. Eligible staff include corporate heads, board members, and other rank employees alike. 

Micro-Mentoring & Coaching Programs

If you specifically want to nurture a mentorship culture within your organisation, here’s an executive leadership development plan that you should definitely consider adopting: micro-mentoring. 

The objective is simple: to balance out the gradient in skills and empirical experience inherent in any workforce, only this time it works in an objective-specific and time-specific way. 

Key areas of focus depend, of course, on specialty, expertise, and the specific aspects of leadership that your company is most in need of, and are inculcated through workshops, volunteer projects, leading events, and micro-mentorship initiatives. 

Implemented with consistency, these grow into your organisation’s ethos and promote individual growth and vision.

Adoption of Interactive eLearning 

With online business tools being what they are today, peak efficient and diverse, leadership training has never been easier. 

The technical ease with which even remote-based companies can conduct interactive leadership training sessions makes this an excellent place to start for any reasonable team of corporates looking for options. 

eLearning not only enhances cohesion in an organisation, it equips workers with the necessary skills needed to monitor, motivate, get feedback from and incentive staff teams. 

Whether interactive questionnaires or scheduled video classes, eLearning tools have the ability to elaborate on a company’s objectives in all departments, with ease. 

Interactive eLearning is also an excellent way to instill in your leaders a lasting sense of feedback analysis, allowing them to carefully analyse problems and decisions when the need arises.

Community-Involved Training 

An executive leadership plan should also make a point of affording your leaders an opportunity to make a positive contribution in their nearby community. 

A well-run organisation knows that leadership doesn’t cease when everyone checks out after a good day’s work. On the contrary, community projects are essential for your organisation’s local reputation and it will help reinforce a positive moral ethos in your leaders. 

Allowing your leaders to do pro-bono work; allowing them to take up projects that involve local charitable communities; all these things go a long way towards giving your leaders actionable hands-on experience. 

Creating Your Leadership Development Plan from Scratch

Drafting the Executive Leadership Plan

The first thing to keep in mind when building an executive leadership plan is that it ought to bear relevance to leaders at every level of your company. This ensures your leaders are always performing optimally. 

The Ariel Group, which has co-drafted executive education plans across many industries for over twenty-five years, lists six important steps for drafting an executive education action plan and measuring its success.

Here’s where you should start:

  • Outline the most important leadership qualities

You will do this by writing a list of the leadership skills, abilities and competencies that ought to be embodied by a great leader. Afterwards, you should solicit senior leadership management for feedback about the drafted list in order to find out which skills are most needed for your organisation.

  • Focus on core objectives

Here, you need to outline the primary business goals you are focused on achieving in an easy but thorough manner. For instance, an objective could be: To achieve a 25% increase in total sales after two quarters.

  • Assess the requisite leadership skills 

Here, you need to identify the precise skills and talents that need to be cultivated at your organisation, so that it can meet key business objectives. The way to do this is to conduct a leadership skills assessment. 

You will achieve this by speaking with leaders to find out what they feel they need to be more successful, as well as gathering insights from staff teams regarding their leaders. 

The requisite feedback can then be gathered through a range of different mediums: face-to-face feedback, administering questionnaires, email, and anonymous feedback. 

  • Develop a list of executive education objectives

Here, you will use the format adopted in the skills assessment as well as the feedback gained about the most needed skills in your company. 

And from this you will draft a list of outcomes that you envision for your development plan. 

  • Identify the best methods to achieve your leadership action plan objectives

Some things you should consider when deciding upon your preferred method of execution of your leadership development plan objectives include: selecting the right content as well as the right training criteria. Be it group coaching, one-on-one coaching, in-person teaching, self-paced asynchronous training, or virtual classrooms. 

You might perhaps find it more efficient to invite a third-party consultant that specifically deals in  leadership development programs of your sort. They’re usually better equipped to quickly find the right content and formats for the training programme. 

  • Measure the effectiveness of your leadership development plan

It is vital that you have a precise criteria in place for measuring the eventual effectiveness of your leadership development plan. 

Likewise, your employees are a vital asset in feedback analysis. Their sentiment will help you determine the overall progress of the departments in which the executive plan has been adopted. 

Your Leadership Development Plan: a Useful Template

For a quick peek at how you should plan out your program, check out this template. 

Get Your Head Start at Quantic

Quantic is an excellent avenue for leadership programs tailored for all business owners, both aspiring and established.

Our courses are well-regarded among some of the most reputable hirers — and that is exactly why they’re included in most tuition reimbursement programs. 

Some companies that have leveraged Quantic’s tuition reimbursement program include: 

  • American Express
  • WeWork
  • S&P Global
  • Grant Thornton
  • Farmers Insurance

Why, you ask? Well, the reasons are quite simple.

  • Quantic’s programs enhance company talent

Our MBA is bound to elevate your top current and potential leaders, upgrading their performance to more senior roles to support your company growth.

  • We are fast and flexible and our courses lead to higher retention

Invest in your top employees to signal your confidence in their potential and your commitment to their success; you’ll cultivate loyalty and retain them longer.

  • We offer a high ROI and affordable tuition

Primarily delivered online, our best-in-class MBA programs are designed to provide incredible learning at a fraction of the cost of traditional top business school programs.

  • And, of course, we offer an up-to-date accredited degree

8 Employee Engagement Strategies for 2021

Seeing your engagement strategies fail and your operational systems run amok is nothing new in times of change. Significant shifts in the labor market only exacerbate issues. 

The great arena where corporations and top talent have been matching strengths has kept us on the edge of our seats for decades. Lately, it seems talent has been on the winning streak.  

The rat race for the top-skilled workers is harsher than ever, and employee turnover is as expensive as it ever was.

Thus, it doesn’t surprise that employee engagement is top of mind for most HRs and higher-ups.

But how do you stay on top of all your HR challenges and improve employee engagement? 

Our 8 employee engagement strategies for 2021 are bound to help. We’ve curated only the best content from leading industry sources to provide you with the best solutions.  

Let’s dive right in. 

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee Engagement Definition

Employee engagement often gets mixed up with job satisfaction, but they’re not equivalent.

Satisfaction is the feeling of personal happiness and contentment with a job. Engagement has more to do with a proactive approach and the level of motivation. 

It’s a commitment to the organization and the driving force behind employee performance.

The Employee Engagement Model

It’s difficult to find an effective employee engagement model that works. Senior leaders are facing a host of challenges — not just having their newly trained workers poached by other firms. 

Other issues include active disengagement and the demands for improved leadership.  

The stats below will help you gain a better perspective into what drives people in and out of companies.    

So, how do you address those challenges?

First, you need to understand the key drivers of employee engagement in your organization.

To do this, ask yourself the following questions:  

  • How do employees connect and engage with the organization as a whole? Does your company culture nurture fairness, trust, and respect?
  • How do employees connect and engage with direct managers? Do they receive fair treatment and good direction from them?  

Below, we show both organizational and managerial factors in more detail. 

Saying a positive work environment and good leadership are key to engaging employees is being too vague. 

You need to build a model that makes sense for your organization. Let’s break this down.

The Employee Engagement HR Function

Although the manager role is critical in this department, the HR team has a decisive role in improving levels of worker engagement.

HR professionals should lead the charge here within the scope of their responsibilities. Namely:

  • Onboarding. Onboard applicants who fit into the proactive workplace culture. Select those with competencies that match your organization’s growth and sustainability goals.  
  • Training and development. Offer employee benefit programs and training to attract talent and supercharge your team.
  • Performance management. Keep goal alignment front and center. Set workers’ goals strategically and provide clear feedback.

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

There are plenty of reasons to adopt targeted practices to improve employee engagement. Yet, it’s a missing link in many organizations. They go without any systematic approach.

“Just 26% of leaders surveyed say that employee engagement is a very important part of what they think about, plan, and do every day. Another 42% say they work on it frequently, and the rest only occasionally, rarely or never.” Source: Hubspot 

There’s a strong business case for adopting continuous initiatives in this field — plenty of industry data points toward significant employee engagement gains.

Organizations with an engaged workforce:

  • Demonstrate superior performance. 
  • Have a higher earning per share.
  • Recover more quickly following financial setbacks.
  • Are more likely to attract and retain top talent. 

Employee Engagement Goals and Objectives

Your employee engagement initiatives should work towards concrete, well-defined objectives.

Only after you’ve defined them and put them in the pipeline can you measure the success of your efforts.

Engaging your employees can serve some of the below listed high-level corporate objectives:

  • Increase employee retention
  • Increase productivity 
  • Increase employee happiness Increase customer satisfaction
  • Improve organizational culture 

Start small, pick a few relevant objectives, and break them down into task activities. This way you’ll be able to gauge and manage results without splurging your resources. 

Employee Engagement Best Practices

As Douglas Conant, American businessman and Campbell Soup company president and CEO, aptly put it:  

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” 

Your workforce is your most valuable resource — you might as well treat it as such.

Below are actionable tips on how to create a highly engaged workforce.

How to Engage Employees

1. Foster Your Company’s Core Values

Your core values should be at the heart of your company culture — and here’s the how and why of it. 

Employee surveys show Millennials seek jobs and careers they find meaningful and engaging. 

Just a reminder: by 2025, Millennials will represent up to 75% of the global workforce. That said, the topic of creating a purposeful work environment deserves serious thought.  

Articulate your company core values and you’ll create a cohesive workforce gathered around common ideals.  

Your values should serve as a backdrop for everything you do as a team. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a company mission document and put it out to new hires to keep them in the loop from day one.
  • Launch an internal company newsletter.
  • Make this topic a staple of your all-hands executive presentations. 

 2. Create a Culture of Respect

In the grand scheme of things, people love to be respected for the input they make and ideas they propose. So, a good culture of respect includes a good level of dialogue and openness

Organizations that are great at employee engagement are employee-centric cultures. 

21st-century workers value diverse and inclusive workplaces above all else. It’s what a person brings to the organization that counts, regardless of their sex, age, culture, or religion.  

Below are a few initiative ideas: 

  • Teach your recruiters and managers how to deal with unconscious bias.
  • Comb through your executive team: are they acting on values of respect and diversity?

3. Provide Opportunities for Growth

Many organizations already offer valuable strategic compensation to encourage incentivized behaviors. However, skill development training is where you should look for long-term organizational benefits. Upskilling your employees has proven benefits like improving retention and keeping your team motivated. 

Here’s some hard data to support this claim. 

94% of employees would stay at the job longer if the company offered more opportunities to advance their careers. 

By providing growth opportunities, you’re announcing your organizational values to the world.  

Top performers want to get their hands on marketable skills. They work towards earning more senior roles — so you may as well give them what they want. 

Here’s how: 

  • Set quarterly or monthly learning and development goals for each team member. 
  • Design transition management programs to encourage promotion from within.
  • Give people time to learn (this is the number one barrier people state in surveys).
  • Include attractive coursework as part of a compensation and benefits package.  

Tuition reimbursement is a great way to retain team members at the executive level. It’s how you nurture great leaders and encourage other team members to aim for more senior positions.

Quantic’s Executive MBA Tuition Reimbursement Program is a premier graduate education option. By providing your team with an MBA degree, you create excellence in leadership.

This program is attractive to organizations because it offers:  

  • True career acceleration empowerment. The program is designed to educate business leaders and empower them to work towards key business outcomes. 
  • Proven career outcomes. 94% of our alumni say they met their career goals post-graduation.
  • A seamless time-saving program. Our MBA program is designed to create minimal disruption; your employees complete courses without compromising work.
  • An excellent alternative to Ivy League MBAs. In a standardized test, Quantic learners performed as well or better than MBA students coming from the top 10 business schools.

Here’s what others said about us: 

4. Be Clear About How Your Employees Fit in the Big Picture 

First off, high-performing workers are those that clearly understand their role. Being just a cog in the machine is unlikely to engage anyone. 

Next, if you want your staff involved in achieving organizational goals, they need to know what those goals are. Letting them know how their role plays out is paramount.

Providing a clear vision from the top down is the most effective way to increase engagement organization-wide

Hold regular meetings to help the team stay on top and discuss how each member contributes.

5. Recognize Top-Performers

Want to produce new top performers while also encouraging existing ones? Here’s a good incentive: recognize individual achievements.  

It’s understandable — people are unlikely to perform better if their good work is ignored. 

However, it’s nothing some good management can’t fix. 

Putting efforts into creating reward and recognition programs is a great way to fire up your team.  

  • Put your managerial hires through Employee Recognition Training.
  • Set up an employee Service Awards Program.
  • Create a Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program.

6. Foster Great Management

Engaged employees feel their work helps the organization achieve long-term goals. 

Good management is one of the key drivers of engagement. Everyone’s work relies on the management’s success in guiding and aligning their people.

That’s why your investment in managerial teams measures in improved retention, performance, and engagement.

With that in mind, there’s always room to improve:

  • Implement empathy training for managers.
  • Use employee surveys to evaluate managerial effectiveness. 
  • Have regular one-to-ones to help solve issues on the go and inspire managers to do their best.

7. Encourage Two-Way Communication 

Skill development training, self-efficacy, and recognition aren’t the only ingredients of job satisfaction. 

Allowing honest employee feedback is also high on the list. Employees who are free to voice their opinions to their higher-ups feel valued.

Being attentive to your team’s feedback improves their commitment to your organization. Below are some ideas on how to improve your communication: 

  • Promote feedback channels across the board and encourage team members to share thoughts and ask questions.
  • Give prompt answers and act on employee feedback. 
  • Give shoutouts when someone’s suggestions or ideas are implemented. It’s an excellent way to let your team know about the impact they make. 

8. Empower Your Managers to Coach

Lastly, initiating a mentorship program is one of the best things you can do to boost performance.  

A coaching culture has been known for its strong impact on an organization’s health. Yet, many managers are missing the point of seeing supervision as their key responsibility. 

Their greatest contribution comes down to coaching employees. 

That said, empower your managers to coach. Inaugurate coaching as one of the official goals for your managers’ performance evaluations.  

One big plus of this is that the attitude of an engaged manager will rub off on the rest of the team. 

Build Your Employee Engagement Plan

So, how do you build your employee engagement plan? The key is to narrow down and decide which drivers of employee engagement you want to focus on.

Breaking them down into categories will help you identify areas of improvement. You can add or remove categories on the below chart, depending on your organizational needs.

To start carving out your employee engagement strategies select one of the categories. 

Take “Goals & Alignment” for example, then work your ideas through the list of questions below:

  • Do we have specific initiatives that support this driver of engagement? 
  • Will addressing this area solve some of our burning issues?
  • How can we improve in this area?

Once you’ve identified areas that need immediate attention, start building a systematic action plan around them. 

Pro Tip: The most successful employee engagement strategies are intentional and data-driven. Administering surveys will help you reach better decisions about which initiatives will truly serve your organization.  
Use engagement and pulse surveys to find out what makes your employees tick. Also, make sure to follow up on the results.

Employee Engagement Strategy Examples in Action

Employee Engagement Strategies During COVID-19

The COVID-19 situation forced organizations to reevaluate their employee engagement practices. The most critical insight: your remote work protocols need to meet your employees where they are. 

Your team needs to adopt the new remote practices. The ideas below will help you buffer any negative effects and transition to remote work. 

  • Reinforce leadership communication. Put your efforts into digital communication so you can cascade information effectively. 
  • Manage outcomes rather than inputs. Your teams may need more support under current circumstances. Outline desired outcomes but make sure to recognize efforts over results. A level of empathy is important until people gain momentum.  
  • Allow uninterrupted feedback. Communication is now more important than ever. Actively seek feedback from your team. Use video conferencing to course-correct and help them achieve outcomes.

Companies That Nail Employee Engagement

Care to learn about a few successful examples? Below are companies that nailed it with their employee engagement initiatives.  

  • CB Insights. This NYC-based market intelligence company offers a $1,000 education stipend to team members that hit the six-month mark. It hosts a quarterly female-focused professional development lunch and monthly management training. 
  • Subsplash. This innovative company features the “Animal of the Week” employee recognition initiative. Exceptional individual achievements are recognized at a weekly all-hands company meeting. Behavior aligned with company core values (humility, proactivity, and excellence) is especially cheered on. 

Successful Employee Engagement Programs

The higher-ups want to see employee engagement initiatives that drive results. Being clear on the objectives is a good place to get started, but seeing how others are doing it weighs in too. 

Below are some organizations that get results from its employee engagement initiatives. 

  • Caterpillar, a construction-equipment company, has seen considerable benefits from their employee engagement initiatives. They resulted in $8.8 million annual savings from decreased attrition, absenteeism, and overtime in their European plant. 

They’ve also seen a 34% increase in satisfied customers in their start-up plant.

  • Google and Intel are another shining examples. They’ve introduced this remarkably agile goal-setting process called OKR (objectives and key results).

The team members set their individual goals and outline their “key results.” These are, in turn, used to monitor employee progress. The framework creates clarity, alignment, and easy performance measurement.

Your Employee Engagement Action Plan

So, how do you put into place your own successful initiatives? 

First, the leadership and HR settle down on one area of focus — for example, growth opportunities. Then, an action group gets on writing the action plan.

Here’s how it looks: 

  1. Recruit a team responsible for leading the action plan.
  1. Determine the budget and timeline and schedule regular meetings for the action group.
  1. The team then develops a plan. They create a list of options for their prospective action plan. 
  1. A report is created and presented to the leadership. It includes a timeline, expected costs, and the projection of the outcome.
  1. Next, the leadership adopts the plan, makes adjustments, and approves the budget.
  1. Finally, the team gives regular presentations to update the leadership on progress, until the project is completed. 

Next Steps

Implementing on-paper employee engagement strategies takes effort. Yet, there’s a compelling business case that pins down considerable employee engagement gains. 

Laying out a clear path for your initiatives is the best way to ensure their success — and now you have the tools for it. 

Launching a tuition reimbursement program is a great way to get started. Make an Executive MBA degree available to your employees and you’ll be putting your organization on the map

Doing so empowers you to retain team members at the executive level and motivates managers to achieve their career goals. 

Quantic School for Business and Technology offers a free online MBA that can help you attract new hires and produce future business leaders starting from today.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Future Business Leaders

Since 1996, ​Virtual Enterprises International​ (VE) has transformed the lives of more than 165,000 teens through a robust in-school program empowering students to test drive potential careers and develop professional, leadership, functional, and technical skills and competencies. VE’s mission is to ensure all young people have the opportunity to learn and succeed, regardless of their zip code. This vision is put into practice by equipping students with real life business skills that help them lead financially secure, successful lives. ​When Executive MBA Student, Anthony DeBellis, introduced us to VE, we immediately knew that we needed to get involved to help inspire future leaders. ​Now, more than ​20 ​Quantic ​students and alumni will be judges for VE’s national student business competitions.

VE programs guide youth to be adaptable, collaborative and self-directed. The company partners with schools, districts, and businesses across the United States to create educational pathways that align career education and work-based learning, with academic standards-based education. Guided by an industry-driven, educational framework, students launch and manage the growth of a company in a digital, international economy of more than 7,000 student-run businesses in 40+ countries. Through this, students learn how strong skills and a positive mindset can launch them into a successful future.

​Anthony DeBellis, a product management professional at Mastercard, has been involved with Virtual Enterprises for five years and believes its mentorship for young students is invaluable. “Looking back, my favorite memory was working with the students at Manhattan’s Business of Sports School. I was part of a volunteer team that visited the school a few times a month to work with students on their VE business. We would advise them, help them solve problems and share our experiences. When you start working with VE students at any level there are two things I always come back to: first, the students are inspiring, creative and have boundless potential. Second, the experience is rewarding and energizing.”

Anthony believes every high school student in the U.S. should have the opportunity to be part of an immersive VE classroom experience. He is continuing to help them grow by joining their NYC Advisory Board. “When I originally became involved with VE, I was working in banking and managing partnerships focused on bringing financial literacy to students through my organization. We were introduced to VE’s founder, Iris Blanc, at a Nasdaq Bell Ringing ceremony and immediately became enthralled with their vision. All these years later, I’m thrilled to still be engaged with the VE team.”

Students participating in the program are offered summits which are fully-interactive experiences that integrate a trade show atmosphere, workshops, special presentations, and networking opportunities. They offer many ways for students to develop and apply a full range of key career competencies, as well as interact with other VE students, educational leaders, community representatives, and real-world professionals.

Virtual Enterprises’ digital classrooms and Quantic’s pedagogy style both cater to a nontraditional entrepreneurial spirit. Anthony knows this is the perfect union, with the concept of modern education in mind. “I had long wanted to earn an MBA, however there is so much friction around traditional programs, in terms of logistics and costs. A former colleague of mine posted his Quantic degree on LinkedIn. I reached out to him to ask about his experience, and his feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Needless to say, I applied a week later and haven’t looked back.”

VE is a fantastic opportunity for Quantic students to give back to their community and impart valuable lessons to budding business leaders. We are thrilled to see so many of our students volunteer with Virtual Enterprises — we know they will be wonderful mentors to help inspire the next generation of trailblazers! If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering, send an email to apena@veinternational.org.

How to Become a CEO 🚀 Your Path to Chief Executive Officer

Dreaming of becoming a CEO? You can turn that dream into a reality with some sweat, smarts, and a whole lot of dedication to the climb. No matter what industry or company, you’re going to overcome many challenges while you position yourself to take a shot at the top.

We built this guide to help make the process clearer. No matter where you are in your career right now, you can start planning to become a CEO one day. We’ll cover:

  • What a CEO really is (and what it isn’t!) 
  • What skills and competencies you’ll need
  • The degrees you should strongly consider in preparation
  • The different paths you can take to become a CEO

We’ll break it down so that you know exactly what you need to do right now to take that next step forward. Ready? Let’s get started.

A Deep Dive into the CEO Role

As the CEO of a company, you’re the highest-ranking individual in the organization. You’re the final authority on any and all decisions made by other executives. The buck stops right there in front of you. And if you’re cut out for the mega responsibility associated with that, the thought of it should thrill you. 

Of course, it’s just as important to define what a CEO is not. There’s a tendency these days for entrepreneurs to call themselves the CEO of their startup. We’re not talking about that. Real CEOs are:

  • The point of communication between board members
  • The public face of a company
  • Elected by shareholders
  • Maybe the founder, but maybe not

In other words, you’re a real CEO when the company is bigger than your title and when you’ve got major responsibilities and a corporation to run.

Just What Are Those Responsibilities?

The CEO is often a visionary leader who guides the overall direction of a company. Your exact role and responsibilities will vary according to your company size. In large companies, expect to:

  • Draft high-level corporate strategies that your board implements
  • Manage overall resources and operations by authorizing the decisions of other executives
  • Set the tone and culture of the organization itself
  • Represent the company at civic and professional engagements
  • Research and make final decisions on company acquisitions
  • Evaluate the company’s overall trajectory and achievement of stated goals
  • Meet with other executives like the CFO and CTO for advice

In a smaller company, you might find yourself engaged in lower-level, hands-on responsibilities. This may include day-to-day functions similar to those handled by the COO

What Does a CEO Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CEOs earn $193,850 per year on average … or about $93.20 hourly. Of course, major companies can easily go well over that. Some of the highest-paid CEOs rake in over $100 million per year.

What you earn as a CEO depends on your ability to run a company and your experience. PayScale notes that skills like business strategy can increase your salary by another 10 percent, which you can gain through earning an MBA. After attaining those skills, most CEOs attain the average income level at around 20 years of experience. If you’re still early in your career (such as in the first ten years), PayScale puts the average income much lower at $132,000 annually.

The Three Different Types of CEOs

Three main types of CEOs exist, and they reflect the main paths that you can take to the position. Here’s an overview of them: 

  • Founder CEO. These are the people who founded their company. Founder CEOs can be extremely influential in a company’s trajectory. Research suggests that they tend to outperform non-founder CEOs because they consider the company to be one of their lifetime achievements.
  • Non-Founder CEO. A Non-founder CEO is elected or hired to become the CEO of a company. This can have several advantages, especially if the founder has other enterprises, or lacks the skills needed to truly be a CEO.
  • Successor CEO. Individuals who become CEO through succession are known as successor CEOs. According to Harvard, this normally happens when a CEO who is also serving as board Chairman steps away from the former role. However, successor CEOs may also be groomed and elected by a board of directors.

The Profile of a CEO: Skills, Education, Personality

The CEO position is unique among other executive roles because of the public role that you’ll take. You’ll be the public face in most cases. Should you become the CEO of a massive company like Facebook or Amazon, it’s possible you could become famous. If landing such a high-visibility position is a goal for you, consider whether you need to develop your abilities in areas like public speaking, and whether you have the right personality for it. We’ll cover both here.

Critical Skills & Competencies

To competently drive your company in the desired direction, you’ll need to know how to do a lot. The skills and competencies you require will broadly fall into six categories:

  • Strategic management. You’ll need to know how to manage departments, processes, and people to guide your company to success. A strong grasp of organizational behavior is a must.
  • Business and corporate strategy. Knowledge of corporate-level strategy is imperative to understanding how your company functions and what it needs to succeed. 
  • Industry-specific technical skills. You’ll need industry-specific technical expertise. This is particularly important in the tech sphere, where your company will look to you to guide it through uncharted waters.
  • Financial skills. Competence in financial matters is critical for understanding the effects of your actions, and also what actions to take.
  • Ethics. As the primary decision maker in the company, expect to grapple with difficult decisions. Having a solid foundation in business ethics will make the right path clearer. 
  • People skills. Much of your role will be a public one. From negotiating to public relations, be prepared to polish those people skills until they shine.

Education Statistics

Unless you’re the founder of a startup, you need a degree. Likely, you need an advanced one. 

CEOs are well-educated. According to one survey by Study E.U., 97 percent of all CEOs worldwide hold a bachelor’s degree. Some 64 percent of all CEOs hold a master’s degree, while 10 percent hold a doctorate degree. 

There are also trends regarding what degrees future CEOs pick. According to a 2018 survey by LinkedIn of over 12,000 CEOs, some 35 percent of CEOs held a bachelor’s degree in computer science. The next most popular degree choices were:

  • Economics
  • Business
  • Banking and finance
  • Accounting

CEO Personality Traits

From Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, CEOs often catch the public eye with their personalities. 

We aren’t saying you need to emulate any eccentric behavior. However, be aware of the research surrounding CEO personality and company success. For example, according to the Harvard Business Review, the most successful CEOs are: 

Introverted and Conscientious 

Companies headed by introverted CEOs or highly conscientious experience increased returns when the company makes riskier decisions.

Not Afraid of Failure 

All successful CEOs have made significant material mistakes, with 45 percent making mistakes that resulted in significant career setbacks.

Quick to Act 

High-performing CEOs are 12 times more likely to describe themselves as “decisive.”

Adaptable 

CEOs who excel at adapting are 6.7 times more likely to succeed in a venture.

Visionary

CEOs also spend 50 percent of their time planning for the long-term, compared to other executives who spend about 30 percent of their time.

Want to Become a CEO? You’ll Need an MBA

Although the Harvard Business Review found that as many as 8 percent of CEOs don’t have bachelor’s degrees at all, you’ll need one if you aren’t a founder CEO. Some 50 percent of all CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have MBAs. 

Choosing an MBA program involves a lot of considerations. Fortunately, we’ve got a few thoughts to help you with that.

Best MBA Programs for a Future CEO

When it comes to MBA programs, you’ve got three main routes:

  • A traditional MBA from an accredited university
  • An online MBA from an accredited university
  • An executive MBA (EMBA) that’s either online or traditional

Online and traditional MBAs both have their advantages. People choose traditional MBAs when they need structure and have the time to devote to the program. They turn to online MBAs if they prefer the flexibility to continue working. (We’ve covered both in-depth right here.)

Given the nature of the CEO’s role, however, we strongly recommend that you consider an EMBA. These programs are geared specifically to professionals seeking to enter the boardroom. They emphasize core skills like:

  • Corporate governance. As a CEO, you’ll need to understand how rules, processes, and practices are used to manage a company.
  • Supply chain and operations. You should understand how supply chains impact business costs and profits to make smart decisions.
  • Advanced business strategy. This will allow you to make better decisions that affect the future of the company.
  • U.S. business law for corporations. Corporations may be subjected to special laws and regulations – you’ll need to understand them.

An EMBA is especially valuable if you’ve already got a background in business, or you’ve got a highly technical background with deep industry expertise. With so much hinging on your ability to lead an organization and make business decisions, this specialized MBA is uniquely equipped to position you for success. (Here’s a closer comparison of the two types of MBAs.)

The Career Path of a CEO

There’s no single path to becoming the CEO of a company. Historically, many CEOs were successor CEOs, usually the COO or another executive. However, in 2019, the Wall Street Journal noted that externally hired CEOs had become more common than those chosen from an internal pool. That means you’ve got more chances than ever at landing the role without spending 20 years at the same company.

We’ll look at both the internal and external paths now:

Internal Selection: Working Your Way Up

If you want to be tipped for the role someday, prepare for the grind. It’s not uncommon for CEOs to start at an entry-level role and work their way to the upper echelons of the company. That’s what Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, did. He started loading trucks as a teenager and became CEO 25 years later. Likewise, Chris Rondeau, the CEO of Planet Fitness, started as a front desk receptionist in 1993 before becoming CEO in 2013.

Working your way up has many advantages. You can:

  • Gain deep familiarity with the company
  • Make connections with internal mentors and champions who can help your advancement
  • Start working before you’ve gotten your degree or MBA (and often keep working while you earn them)
  • Establish a strong reputation and track record with the company

External Selection: Career Networks

Getting hired as a CEO is not easy, but entirely possible. To pull it off, you’ll need a proven track record in the position or within your industry. Generally, you can expect to hold one or more executive positions before striving for CEO – often at different companies. 

Consider Satya Nadella’s resume. Before becoming the CEO of Microsoft, he sat on boards for the University of Chicago, Starbucks, and Fred Hutch. Robert Buchsbaum, the CEO of Blick Art Materials, worked in roles ranging from financial advisory to non-profits for youths.

If you choose this route, it will take you between ten and twenty years. Keep these things in mind:

CEO Homework! 5 Books You Should Read

To round things off, we want to leave you with five of our favorite books that you should read on the road to becoming a CEO:

1. Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed. It’s a close look at the relationship between talent and effort – and why we should praise the latter, not the former.

2. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. Do you have a job or a career? There are two sides to organizations: management and labor. This book explores where you fall and how you can land where you want to be.

3. Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. Why do some companies make it, but many others don’t? That’s what this book explores. It can help you change your attitude toward business.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of the best self-help books of all time, it can help you improve your people skills at work and in life.

5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. A story of a CEO facing a leadership crisis, it provides thoughtful points for building a cohesive, effective team.

Summary: How to Become a Great CEO

Becoming a CEO isn’t quite like attaining other executive positions in the boardroom. You’ll need a rock-solid foundation in business, plus a visionary outlook that can guide your company into the future. That can make determining what to do a little tricky, but we’ve provided our best tips right here. However you choose to do it, make sure that you develop a strong understanding of the business world, cultivate the personality you’ll need, and choose your MBA program wisely.

The road to becoming a CEO requires vision, planning, and a lot of hard work. But whether you pursue the top role internally or externally, it’s entirely within your reach.

Happy advancing!