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.

Expert Advice: Tips to Turn Your Dream into a Business

Quantic Alum, Dr. Lisa Bélanger is a keynote speaker, author and behavior change expert. She teaches professionals about healthy habits, mindfulness, productivity. Besides her accomplishments of running the Paris marathon, climbing Kilimanjaro, and being the mom of two wonderful children, she is also the founder of ConsciousWorks, an industry-leading consulting firm that integrates proactive mental health and performance strategies by applying cutting-edge science to strategically improve behaviors, engage leadership influence, and shift cultures. 

What ultimately inspired her to take the leap and launch her company and what advice does she have for new business founders? Dr. Bélanger gives us her top tips to create a successful startup. 

What inspired you to create ConsciousWorks? 

While I was consulting and researching corporate wellness, I realized that most programs lacked strategy, behaviour change support, and well-defined metrics of success. For the most part, there is little to no science behind how we work. There was an opportunity to leverage science to the mainstream to unveil ways to work better. I knew the potential that lives within a company to not only impact personal behaviors, but also leverage social support through a well-designed program, and create long term, sustainable change. 

Your company’s core values are important for your mission. How did you build these and how can someone determine their own for their startup or new business?

Our core values were determined a few months after the business started, and it was an activity with the whole team. For our team, we were very aligned in terms of individual values and where we saw the company. The company values can really be what you want to be known for, and would be represented in potential employees and future partners. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting to draft a business plan? 

Be ready to pivot! My business plan was finished just weeks before the pandemic and then we went into a complete shutdown. The plan was placed directly in the garbage and re-imagined. In the past year we had to respond to the changing world and try to plan through the uncertainty. An agile business plan became a requirement.

What resources did you need to launch your business?

My primary and more important resources are the incredible team I work with and a solid wifi connection. 

Where did you find it most important to invest your time and energy? 

In relationships: with my team, with partners and with clients. I believe this is always a large part of business, but during the pandemic it has involved creativity and a conscious effort to collaborate remotely. 

What advice would you give to someone for setting their future company goals? 

Connect your goals to your purpose. Know how they intersect with the big picture, then, create a system to achieve them. Move towards that goal every single day. Even if it is just 1% – after a year you are 365% closer. Your goals are as strong as the systems you create. 

What mental health advice would you give to someone dealing with the stresses of setting up a new business? 

In a new company there is always something on fire, deadlines, and inevitable pressure. There are more ups and downs than you can imagine – so create a system to rest every single day! Rest is not a reward for when the work is done, it is a strategic behavior for longevity. 

Also, get a mentor! Someone further along in the entrepreneurship process. I realized quickly, that entrepreneurs are often the only people who ‘get it’ and are great sources of connection. They can provide support for both the emotional and tangible starts to a budding business.  

Want to hear more proactive mental health techniques to become your best self and reach your highest potential? We recently worked with Dr. Bélanger to launch a podcast called The Science of Work, which examines top business leaders’ advice, research, and current trends that are shaping today’s workforce. Tune in to learn more!

Five Questions for Free the PhD Founder, Vay Cao

Quantic Alum, Vay Cao, PhD, founded Free the PhD, a career development and advocacy platform for PhDs who want to learn more about the world outside of academia and kickstart an exciting career. You can check out their programs, talk to their advisors, and access their resources year-round.  Vay spoke with us about the initial inspiration and future goals for the program.

What inspired you to create Free the PhD? 

More PhD graduates are produced than there are traditional full-time faculty positions. This is a trend that has been happening for decades. The simultaneous shrinking of the academic faculty pool, especially in current times, has exacerbated an already stressful professional reality for many academics. Many who complete a PhD degree are not sure what they can do professionally afterwards. I was in this camp: not interested in continuing in academia, but not sure what else I could do.  After I made my own career transition, I was inspired to create Free the PhD because I didn’t want that experience to go to waste. 

How did you launch the platform?

It started off as a typical resume-editing service, but has evolved over the years into a platform where academics can do the important work of learning to shift their mindsets from that of only an academic, to a versatile professional. Free the PhD today is a supportive digital community. It’s a set of empathetic, practical online courses to assist academics in the career transition that’s right for them. There is personalized career guidance, provided by fellow PhDs. We teach PhDs how to free themselves from their own mental limitations and become independent job seekers, including guiding them on how to edit their own job applications and do their own interview preparation.

How would you like to see it expand in the future? 

The pool of PhD talent has so much to offer all sectors of society. I would love to continue reaching more PhDs interested in exploring and pursuing diverse career paths. Alongside our own career coaching, we have been doing workshops with different institutions and are piloting a joint career course with a UC university, which I hope might expand into other institutions that would like to work together to serve their trainees.

Why did you want to pursue your MBA? 

When I first began working outside of academia, I had no prior formal “work experience.” Joining a start-up out of grad school meant I was learning as I went every single day, trying new things and loving the experience. I realized I really wanted a comprehensive understanding of business, rather than this patchwork of information to make me a more effective and efficient professional. I enjoyed being in the business world, and wanted to ensure I was empowered to both deliver results and accelerate my career. 

What did you like about Quantic’s pedagogy method?

What I wanted from an MBA was to get the needed information in a streamlined, time-efficient, affordable, curated manner, all from a trusted source. Knowing that the people behind Quantic are proven in online education, and checking out the freely available Business Foundations courses on their app, helped convince me that this was exactly what I needed! Now that the Quantic MBA is officially accredited, I am even more convinced that I made the right decision in choosing Quantic.  

I have leveraged a lot of the business knowledge and frameworks from my Quantic MBA experience, both in my day job and constantly improving Free the PhD. Knowing that I have the fundamental knowledge needed to go out and make an impact in the world has provided me with the confidence that every professional and entrepreneur needs to succeed! 

What is a Chief Strategy Officer? Outlook, Education, Career Path 🚀

So, you want to become a chief strategy officer? You’ll be among an up-and-coming group of professionals representing a shift in the way corporations are thinking about business strategy. This broad, dynamic, and well-paid position will have you handling some of the highest-level tasks in the company.

As the business world gets faster and more complex thanks to technology, many CEOs don’t have time to stay on top of it all. Yet, strategy is more important than ever. As the CSO, you’ll oversee the company’s strategic initiatives. You’ll enjoy a lot power and responsibility, so we’ve created the ultimate guide on how to become a competent, qualified CSO. 

You’ll discover things like:

  • What responsibilities you can expect
  • The education and skills you’ll need
  • How the CSO differs from other C-suite roles

By the time you’re through, you’ll have a solid understanding of this unique role and will know exactly what to expect as you embark on the path to becoming one. Let’s dive in!

What is a Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)?

The CSO, or chief strategist, is the executive who oversees the development, communication of, and execution of a corporation’s strategic initiatives. In other words, you’ll work with your CEO to create an overall corporate strategy that produces long-term, sustainable success for your company. 

Corporate strategy used to be the primary responsibility of the CEO. However, most CEOs already have their hands full with being ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the business. Likewise, the business landscape has become more complex with the rise of new organizational structures, increased regulations, and rapid globalization. These have put a strain on companies’ ability to innovate and made strategy even more important. Yet, CEOs have less time to devote to it than ever before.

As a CSO, your job will be to support the CEO’s creation of an overall corporate strategy. Let’s look a little more closely at what that looks like.

What Does a Chief Strategist Do? Key Responsibilities

What does a CSO look like in action? It’s this: 

It’s Monday, and you’re sitting in a meeting with the CEO plus other executives discussing a new line of products the CEO wants to launch. Your CEO believes that this will help position the company to tap into a new market. However, as you’re reviewing the plans, you notice something: your CEO doesn’t seem to be aware of a competitor who tried this exact strategy just a few months ago. It failed miserably. You speak up and throw out a few alternative ideas for your CEO to consider.

That’s just one snapshot of what a chief strategist does, but it encompasses many of the key responsibilities of a CSO. Those include:

  • Providing insights and advice on the CEO’s strategy
  • Identifying market conditions and determining their impact on strategy
  • Overseeing the execution of any strategic plans
  • Driving decision-making that leads to sustainable growth
  • Facilitating the development of key strategic initiatives
  • Supporting inclusive planning processes and communication between teams, other executives, and stakeholders
  • Tackling various high-impact initiatives that may change the course of the company

Who Reports to a Chief Strategy Officer?

According to Deloitte, a CSO may be described as: “responsible for nothing and accountable for everything.” In other words, unlike a CFO or a CTO, you won’t necessarily have a defined domain within the organization. Rather, if an initiative surfaces that will impact the company’s position in the future, you’ll have a role in it.

That means you’ll need to get ready to form relationships with the leadership of the organization. On any given project, you may find yourself working with:

  • Your fellow executives
  • Directors and other high-level management
  • Department heads
  • Project managers

Who Does the Chief Strategy Officer Report To?

According to a 2020 survey by Deloitte, 69 percent of CSOs report directly to the CEO. However, you may report to the COO as well. That’s more likely to occur if your CEO spends a significant amount of time as the public face of the company. In that case, you’ll work with the COO to develop and execute initiatives and corporate strategy.

Chief Strategy Officer Career Outlook

Chief strategists used to be an odd role that many CEOs didn’t understand because they handled company strategy themselves. In 2020, that perception is changing. At least 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies now have a CSO heading their strategic planning.

Consider Young Sohn, the CSO of Samsung. He’s helped the electronics giant redefine what he refers to as its operating rhythms to better embrace the future of a hyper-digital world.

Deloitte’s survey notes that the CSO role has existed for less than five years in 39 percent of the organizations that responded. That just shows how many companies are embracing this role. If you’re aiming to someday become a chief strategist, now is the perfect time to start preparing to be a competent and effective strategist. As Steven Goldbach – the CSO of Deloitte – notes, you’ll one day play a role in helping a company make challenging, pragmatic strategy choices. 

Chief Strategy Officer Salary Statistics

Ready to make bank? Chief strategy officers are well paid. According to PayScale, the average salary for a CSO in 2020 was $185,539 per year. The top 10 percent of CSOs earn as much as $297,000 per year. 

Two things influence your compensation: your experience and your specific skills. Let’s look at both.

What Sort of Experience Do Most CSOs Have?

According to PayScale, most CSOs come into the role once they are “experienced” or “late” in their career. That translates to ten to 20 years of professional experience. Deloitte agrees, noting that 66 percent of CSOs have over 15 years of professional experience, while some 44 percent have been at it for over 20 years.

What sort of professional experience? Expect your competition to have plenty of demonstrated expertise in things like:

  • People and project management
  • Business administration
  • Marketing
  • Finance

You’ll need similar expertise to become a chief strategy officer. We’ll talk about that next.

What Skills Can Increase Your Salary?

CSOs with a good sense of corporate governance and leadership are in greatest demand. In 2020, PayScale noted that these skills could increase a candidate’s compensation:

Chief Strategy Officer Skills & Qualifications

As the chief strategist, you’ll be involved with many different parts of the company to ensure that initiatives stay on track. As a result, it’s more important to develop a well-rounded foundation of skills for operating at a very high level than it is to develop specific technical expertise. We recommend that you focus on:

  • Leadership skills. You’ll spend a lot of time leading project management, supervising other strategists, and working with your executive colleagues to guide the organization. Make sure you’ve got your leadership fundamentals down. 
  • Strategy. Business strategy is a sought-after skill in chief strategists. We recommend that you learn blue ocean strategy to create the best visions and guide your organization. 
  • Management. If you aren’t already adept at managing teams and people, make sure you get up to speed as quickly as possible. 
  • Data. Business intelligence is a data-driven skill, and companies want their chief strategists to be able to do it. Learn the foundations of data analysis like one-variable statistics so you can make thoughtful, informed, data-driven decisions.

What Degrees Do I Need to Be a Chief Strategy Officer?

You will need an advanced degree to secure this role. While your bachelor’s degree can range from business to law or even the liberal arts, the top executives of most large corporations have an MBA. 

If you’re still choosing your bachelor’s degree, we recommend aiming for a business degree. That will help you start developing the foundation that you need to become a chief strategy officer.

The Best MBA for a CSO 

MBAs are increasingly common among the ranks of top executives, and that includes chief strategists. An MBA will provide you with the deep business skills and abilities that you’ll need to guide an organization effectively. However, people who have their sights set on an executive role specifically may want to consider pursuing an executive MBA, or EMBA, instead.

An EMBA differs from an MBA in that the courses and electives you take are more geared toward corporate strategy and governance. You’ll still learn all the business fundamentals that you need, but you’ll also gain additional skills for the board room. 

Many EMBA programs, like the one at Quantic, also let you specialize in areas including advanced corporate strategy or data analysis. That can give you a competitive edge in a world where MBAs are becoming the norm and help tip you for the role.

Another consideration for choosing an MBA program involves whether an online or traditional MBA is right for you. Each has its advantages:

  • An online MBA lets you keep working while earning the credentials you need on a schedule that works for you.
  • A traditional MBA provides structure and focus and is still well regarded in the business world.

Either way you go, make sure your choice offers a career network to help you develop your professional connections.

The Chief Strategy Officer Resume

Ever wonder what a chief strategy officer’s resume looks like? They’re intense. Typically, they:

  • Are action-oriented. Expect to see lots of bullet points with responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Put experience first, skills second. They’ll be able to demonstrate what they’ve done, but also talk about what else they can do.
  • Only list the most advanced degrees attained. Unless they’ve also got an MBA, you’ll typically only see the most advanced degree listed. Take note of this if you’ve got a bachelor’s degree that isn’t in the business field.
  • Only list related skills and experience. Got a lot of irrelevant stuff and odd jobs on your resume? Time to clean it up and show that you’re ready to be a CSO.

Here are two great examples of what yours might look like one day:

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VelvetJobs.

The CSO vs. COO

You might have noticed that the CSO sounds a little bit like the COO. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why some CEOs question the need for one in the first place. However, the two roles are different for two main reasons:

  • The CSO is consultative while the COO is executive. As a CSO, you’ll be asked for advice more frequently than the COO. In contrast, the COO will more frequently take charge of implementing and executing operations.
  • The CSO is future-oriented while the COO is present-oriented. The COO focuses on day-to-day operations, but you’ll be primarily concerned with where the company is going in the long run.

Being a Chief Strategy Officer for a Startup vs. Corporation

The chief strategist is much more common in large corporations, where the CEO may not have the time to manage the company strategy as much as they might. This position can take 10 to 15 years to attain and typically involves working your way up the ranks within the same company. (According to Harvard Business Review, 85 percent of CSOs are hired internally.)

Chief strategy officers less frequently appear in startups as the CEO typically takes on the role. However, a CSO can play a critical role in a startup if the CEO isn’t confident at taking the strategic lead. Often, you’ll see the role labeled “Chief Growth Officer (CGO)” to reflect the startup’s growth as a strategic priority. 

If you want to become a chief strategist/CGO of a startup, begin developing your career network as early as possible to make the right connections as you pursue your MBA. Look to connect with someone who’s got a vision that interests you, but who needs a strategist at their back to execute it.

Summary: Next Steps to Become a Chief Strategy Officer

The chief strategy officer is a vital but misunderstood role – we’ve hopefully cleared things up a little bit. Unlike other C-suite roles, the CSO is unique in that it doesn’t have a “domain” like finance, technology, or marketing. That can make it a difficult role to understand. The CSO is best understood as a position that supports the CEO. Simply put, if it involves the direction that the company is headed, you can count on being called for your advice. 

We’ve covered everything you need to know to prepare for such a dynamic and broad role in a corporation. From the skills you need to insights on the best MBA to pursue, you’re now equipped to strategize your next move to become a chief strategy officer. Still got questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to share some insights.

Student Spotlight: Creating Efficiency and Optimization in the Healthcare Arena

Quantic Alum, Anne Michael, has always been intrigued by resource usage and constraints within the healthcare arena. She is currently the VP of Operations at Focused Software where she combines knowledge gathered during her years as an active physician, with her business knowledge to make sure both clinical and non-clinical team efforts always benefit the patient. 

“Most doctors, as expected, tend to stick to the clinical side of things and do some administrative work on the side,” says Anne.

“ I realized that I wanted to focus on the administrative/business side of things, rather than split time between the two. I came to this decision following my observation that there was frequently a communication disconnect between the clinical and administrative teams at most healthcare institutions. It seemed to me that since we were all there for the patients’ benefit, working together instead of in an antagonistic fashion made more sense.” 

This inspired her to pursue solutions for efficiency and optimization of processes. “The way resources are used at a macro-level really impacts the healthcare of individual patients. However, I realize that most physicians have as much as they can manage on their plates, just doing clinical work, without having to think of the economics/business side of things. Those of us who do have an interest in the actual corporate administration of medicine should seek opportunities to improve our business skill set to create better processes, conditions and resource allocation for our colleagues and patients.”

Focused Software is working to diminish this disconnect. The company provides systems that enable businesses to become more efficient in their documentation, billing, administrative and supervisory functions, so that they can maximize the time spent actually providing care for their patients. As their VP of Operations, Anne leads her team in determining corporate direction, managing change implementation, and making sure company goals and client needs are met. Anne knew she would need a business background in order to be successful in her role. “The only way I saw to do this was to get a business education for myself, so that I could better understand both sides. I know that I am now uniquely qualified to foster communication, solution generation and implementation for those in healthcare on both sides of the aisle.”

Quantic was Anne’s choice to earn her MBA degree because she could complete courses while working or traveling. “I soon realized that to truly get to the next level, I would need some sort of structured educational program that would direct and integrate essential business knowledge in a timely fashion. That’s where Quantic came in! The fact that it is online, accredited, fun, has a great network of international alumni, staff and current students made this an easy decision.” 

Now more than ever, great communication is needed between clinical and non-clinical teams to create solutions that best address patients’ needs, while optimizing limited resources. “The clinical knowledge I gained during my years as an active physician helped me better understand the needs of Focused Software clients and preempt their future needs. With belief, enthusiasm, a great team and a little bit of humor, a lot can be achieved.” 

How to Become a CMO: A Complete Guide to Attaining the Chief Marketing Officer Role

Wondering how to win the top position in the marketing world? Imagine waking up every day to a fast-paced, prestigious job that leverages everything you ever learned about marketing (and pays to reflect that!)

Becoming a Chief Marketing Officer takes planning and dedication to your profession. But this dynamic, high-powered role is completely within reach for master marketers with the right experience and business expertise. We’ll show you how.

We’ll examine what a CMO does and why your professional experience matters so much. You’ll also get clear advice on what education to pursue, and insights on the types of MBAs available for you. You’ll discover common pitfalls to avoid, plus inspiration and wisdom from CMOs at some of the top companies.

By the end, you’ll know exactly where you stand and what steps to take as you advance to the boardroom. 

You bring the passion for marketing – we’ll provide the answers to all your questions about becoming a CMO in this handy guide. Ready? Let’s go!

A Day in the Life of a Chief Marketing Officer

Imagine this: it’s Monday morning, and you’re perusing your email over the rim of your coffee. You’ve got emails from the:

  • Head of Sales: a product’s performance
  • Marketing Department: an interesting brand mention on Facebook
  • CEO: some ideas about expanding into a new market

It’s only Monday morning, and you’ve already got your hands full with product performance reviews, social media response management, market research, strategizing, a meeting with the CEO – that’s only a small part of what a CMO does. 

Oh, and that meeting with the CEO? You can even expect to throw in a meeting or three with the COO and CFO to discuss some of those strategies later this week. They’ll impact the company’s budget and operations, so other board members will need to be kept in the loop.

Career Outlook: Your Experience and Education Matter

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the field of marketing managers broadly is experiencing a growth rate of 8 percent per year. That’s 50 percent faster than related management positions, such as those in sales-related fields (growing at 5 percent per year). 

CMOs play an especially direct role in maximizing a company’s revenue, and you can expect to be well-paid as a result. In 2020, PayScale estimated that CMOs make $174,192 annually on average. LinkedIn agrees, noting that the median annual earnings for the CMO hover around $180,000

However, that compensation is heavily dependent on how long you’ve been a CMO overall. PayScale notes that CMOs with only one year of experience in the role may earn as little as $99,000 per year, while those with over 20 years of experience will earn $197,000 per year.

Speaking of Experience…

According to PayScale, some 49 percent of CMOs have identified themselves as “late-career” individuals possessing more than 20 years of experience as a CMO. Another 35 percent identified themselves as “experienced,” with at least 10 years of experience in the role before seeking their current position. 

In other words, it’s a role that people tend to stay in for a very long time. That can make it difficult for you to break into a position unless you’re experienced and educated. In other words, unless you can demonstrate the same years of experience, or you’ve got an advanced degree to make up for it.

LinkedIn also notes that education plays a large role in what you can expect to earn. CMOs with a bachelor’s degree can expect their earnings to peak at $175,000 per year. In contrast, an MBA may allow you to earn as much as $225,000 per year – and 55 percent of LinkedIn’s survey respondents hold one.

Skills and Competencies: 5 Things You’ll Need to Know How to Do

Working with many different departments and handling such a wide variety of marketing-related responsibilities means you’ll need a combination of technical expertise and soft skills. CMOs are generally expected to master:

1. The fundamentals of marketing and digital marketing. From social media campaigns to effective marketing at events, you’ll need to know almost everything related to marketing in the physical world and marketing online. 

2. Pricing strategy. Pricing strategy gets overlooked a lot, but it’s an underrated skill that can set you apart in the world of marketers. You should know how to tie pricing to value. That’s what helps your marketing strategies maximize profits.

3. Business and corporate strategy. Marketing directly impacts revenue and business growth. Therefore, you will need to understand how your efforts connect with and support broader business and corporate strategies

4. Data analytics for marketing. Much of marketing is data-driven these days, with metrics letting us know exactly how a campaign is performing. That makes it critical to understand things like one-variable statistics and A/B testing.

5. Leadership. You’ll lead teams and manage people almost every day. To do so effectively, you’ll need to understand organizational behavior.

CMO Education Requirements

If you want to become a CMO, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. LinkedIn, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale all agree that a four-year degree is the minimum you’ll need to achieve due to the number of technical skills you’ll have to develop. The most common degrees are business-related, but LinkedIn also notes some interesting alternative majors:

  • International business
  • Economics
  • Marketing, marketing management
  • Psychology

Indeed also adds to the list:

  • Journalism
  • Communications
  • Public relations

Going Further: Certifications, Master’s, and MBAs

Since your competition will have a bachelor’s degree, it might have occurred to you to seek out an advanced degree to set yourself apart. That would be a great idea, especially if your bachelor’s degree wasn’t in business. 

When you’re looking into going further, you’ve got three options:

  • Certifications. Organizations like the American Marketing Association offer certifications for marketers and marketing managers. You may also want to consider industry-specific certifications to deepen your insight. Alone, these will only be enough with your bachelor’s degree if you’ve already got significant professional experience.
  • Master’s degree. It may be tempting to pursue a master’s degree in marketing or a similar field. If you choose this route, round out your studies with plenty of elective courses in business-related topics.
  • MBA. Most job sites, including LinkedIn and Indeed, indicate that an MBA is the most popular option for advanced degrees. You’ll want to look for an MBA that offers a marketing specialization, or an executive MBA that specifically prepares you for life in the boardroom.

The CMO Career Path: What to Expect

Get ready to double down on achieving professional experience. The CMO is unique among board positions in that your ability as a marketer matters more than your industry experience. Compare that to a role like the CTO, where industry-specific technical experience matters almost as much as your business acumen. 

Many CMOs, like Kate Jhaveri of the NBA, have a resume that runs the gamut of digital marketing positions across numerous industries. Others, like David Edelman of Aetna, have worked in a variety of sales, consulting, digital marketing, and business strategy roles. 

Of course, if you’ve found an industry that you like, then you’re welcome to remain in it. The CMO of Warner Media Entertainment, Chris Spadaccini, has worked in marketing for the entertainment industry for over 15 years.

(By the way, all three professionals have MBAs.)

Can a CMO Become a CEO?

Yes.

However, it’s not easy. According to Diego Scotti, the CMO of Verizon, it can be difficult for CMOs to progress to CEO. That’s because the position emphasizes expertise in marketing rather than the bigger picture mentality embraced by other C-level positions. In other words, the best CMOs are ultra-competent marketers who might not have the business-mindedness to fulfill the CEO’s role.

If you’re viewing the CMO role as a stepping stone to CEO, take note. It’s one more reason to consider an MBA as it can help broaden your business expertise.

How to Become a CMO

On the road to becoming a CMO, it’s your professional experience in marketing that will set you apart and tip you toward the position. That’s why most CMOs identify themselves as “experienced” or “late-career” professionals.  

As you scope out your next steps toward becoming a CMO, here’s what we recommend you do:

1. Earn a degree that lands you a marketing job. You’ve got a little bit of freedom here, but if you’re still deciding on your degree, opt for something either business or marketing related. Otherwise, get yourself into a marketing position as quickly as possible. After you’ve completed your degree, expect to spend between one and three years here.

2. Gain job experience. For the next five to nine years, it’s not necessary to stay at the same company, but you can. Build your resume by taking successively higher-level marketing jobs to help you gain deeper insights into the field and demonstrate your growing experience.

3. Earn an advanced degree. We recommend choosing an MBA with a marketing specialization as it will amplify your effectiveness in your career while giving you the business skills you’ll need at the executive level. You can go for it at any point after you’ve completed your undergrad. Keep in mind that most CMOs have between ten and twenty years of experience before seeking the role.

4. Grow your professional network. Like other C-level positions, your ability to become a CMO will hinge on who you know. This may take a year or longer, but doing this while in an MBA program with a strong professional network can accelerate this process.

5. Look for CMO roles that match your experience and interests. You may already have an industry in which you’re interested and settled in, but if you don’t, that’s okay. Keep your eye out for positions that interest you and match your background. This process can take over a year, but it can also happen quickly if you’ve got a strong network.

Choosing an MBA Program to Become a CMO

An MBA is an invaluable asset if you’re gunning for the top role in the marketing world. However, not all MBAs are created equal. You’ve got options to consider … three main ones, actually:

  • Traditional MBA. Well-regarded and rigorous, a traditional MBA program at a major school can put you in touch with high-caliber contacts in your field. It might also require you to stop working and can get expensive.
  • Online MBA. Online MBAs are ideal for people who want the flexibility to take courses while they work, or who don’t want to relocate to attend a specific school. Many don’t offer career networks, which can hinder your ability to connect with other business professionals. Others, like Quantic’s program, do. That’s something to consider when investigating this route. (Here are some more thoughts on traditional versus online MBAs.)
  • Executive MBA. A specialized type of MBA, it’s geared toward professionals with considerable experience who are taking steps toward the boardroom. Consider this route if you’ve got your targets locked on becoming a CMO, as it’ll prepare you for the challenges of serving on a board. We’ve covered the differences between an EMBA and MBA right here.

Summary: How to Become a CMO

There you have it – how to become a CMO! The CMO is an interesting position in the boardroom because of its emphasis on marketing expertise – according to Diego Scotti, sometimes at the expense of being able to focus on the bigger picture. Hopefully, we’ve given you a few ideas on how to avoid that pitfall. 

We’ve looked at the hard and soft skills you’ll need, the types of career paths that are common when becoming a CMO, and what you should consider when pursuing an MBA. By rounding out your professional experience with solid business credentials and education, you can attain that wider focus and become a more effective corporate professional all around.

Want to discover more about why our online MBA works? 

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