Topics: Advancement · All topics
AnthonyMilan, Italy

I'm a chief financial officer at a large company. I aspire to lead a company myself one day. How do I position myself for a line job with profit-and-loss responsibility?

Frances's advice

The best way for you to begin your research is to talk with other people who have done what you think you want to do. This can be a challenging exercise for someone in your position, but it can be done. Use your contacts to find others. The safest bet is to try another geographical area — perhaps Rome or Paris — or talk with people whose companies are in a different field than yours to maintain confidentiality. Over lunch or dinner, ask them how they were able to position themselves to run their companies. Find out what qualities they think are most important in a leader. Listen carefully to their stories to glean wisdom that can help you advance. Ask them what mistakes, had they made them, could have kept them from being successful. This exercise won't be easy, and will take time, but will help you identify what you can do now to boost your chances for leadership in the future.

Additionally, identify the distinctive competencies that you can bring to the table for such a position. Learn to speak clearly and forcefully about your leadership skills.