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How to Become CEO: The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization Hardcover – September 30, 1998
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Rules like "Know Everybody by Their First Name" and "No Goals No Glory" may seem obvious; others, such as "Don't Take Work Home from the Office" or "Don't Have a Drink with the Gang" may not. Each is accompanied by page or two of succinct and thought-provoking explanation. For example, for rule 27, "Don't Hide an Elephant," Fox writes, "Big problems always surface. If they have been hidden, even unintentionally, the negative fallout is always worse. The 'hiders' always get burned, regardless of complicity. The 'discoverers' always are safe, regardless of complicity." Wise and to the point, How to Become CEO will help just about anybody's career, whether you want to become CEO or not. --Harry C. Edwards
Top Customer Reviews
I write an article for Chief Executive Magazine each year about the best practices of the most successful CEOs. As part of this work, I have met and interviewed hundreds of the most envied corporate leaders. The subject of how each became CEO and what the lessons are usually comes up. Based on their experiences, you would write a substantially different list than Mr. Fox has provided. Key elements would include learning to do important tasks that the company needs done that no one else is doing; having a great relationship with shareholders and the board of directors; having massive integrity that is frequently demonstrated to others; making and keeping your promises; and establishing an environment in which other people perform very effectively. There's a lot more. If you are interested in more, read my article in the May 1999 issue on The Helpful Habits of the CEO... -- click on the leadership file folder to find the article).
The second problem with this book is that Mr. Fox acknowledges that most CEOs in companies get their jobs by either starting or buying the company. He then goes on to provide no direct advice on how to do either one.
The third problem with the book is that it provides general advice rather than specific advice about you and your own organization. Many of the rules he describes will vary from company to company. In front of many of his pieces of advice should be a first step: Ask the successful people in your company what the right thing to do is. In front of many of his comments about working with others should be a first step of asking the people involved what they would like you to do. The book assumes a communications stalled approach that can lead to backfires in many cases. For example, many people would prefer that you give them immediate verbal feedback along with a pat on the back when they do a good job. They would not be as pleased with a hand-written note, as this book recommends.
The final problem with this book is that it really covers the same subject as How To Be A Star At Work. That is a terrific book, and well worth reading.
If you do decide to read this book, pay the most attention to the advice to set written goals, score yourself on them, and pay attention to the goals. Research has shown that only one percent of people do this, and they usually outperform the 99 percent who do not.
Good luck in your learning of how to become a CEO!
Some of the seventy-five pieces of advice are cynical, "Always take the job that offers the most money", and "Make allies of your peers subordinates". Some are puritanical "Don't have a drink with the gang" and "Don't smoke". Some are eccentric "Send hand written notes", and "Go to the library one day a month". And some are good emotional intelligence "Never write a nasty memo" and "Live for today, plan for tomorrow, forget yesterday".
You probably won't agree with all of them, nor agree that all of them are profound. Yet some may strike a cord, or remind you of something you really know but no longer practice. They are written in a style which will appeal to some, but not all. What one might call a "popular magazine type style".
If this is the sort of book you like, then you will like this sort of book. Otherwise, for the sake of your blood pressure, I suggest that you read something else.
I don't believe anything he says is earth shattering, nor do I believe it possible to implement all of his ideas. However, the way each idea was backed up with simple reasoning and examples made it easy to understand the motivation behind it. It also made it easy to determine whether it was applicable to my situation and in many cases, gave examples of how to handle particular situations.
I can speak from my own experience that just implementing two pieces of his advice has positively changed the way that I approach my work environment and the way coworkers and management perceive me. This was well worth the money I spent on this book. There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who is serious in advancing into the ranks of upper management will find a minimum of 3-5 nuggets that help shape their attitudes and habits to attain that goal within this book!