by D. A. Benton
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What gear does the modern climber need to make it to the top of the corporate mountain?
You can become a CEO-a chief executive officer in your career lifetime. It is not the unreachable pinnacle once reserved for those born with a silver spoon in their mouth, who went to the right school, who know the right people, the privileged group. Tomorrow's top chiefs will get there on their merit. Their-and your-entitlement will be based on the utilization of the required traits needed to operate, influence, and lead at high levels. There are no "secrets" left unearthed for the chosen to follow. You are the chosen, if you want to be one of them.
This book is for people who haven't reached their summit-yet. It lays out the equipment err, qualities-they will need to pack on their climb to the top of the corporate mountain.
Because maneuvering through various levels of a corporation is analogous to moving up a mountain, I've used mountain climbing in this book as a metaphor for learning to think like and become the person at the top. To make it to the top of a company, you must pass through tricky and scary situations, just as you would on a mountain.
To scale rocky heights, your first move must be to establish a firm footing: You must learn the ropes to overcome obstacles, move on, and take the lead. A solid foundation of vital traits gives you a substantial base from which to operate. Knowing exactly what's demanded of you gets you through problems and shoots you out ahead of others.
To get the firm footing you need, you must learn from those who have already reached that seemingly inaccessible pinnacle.
It's smart to see what experienced climbers know. You might be surprised to discover that you have all of the necessary gear already. Now you just need to approach the mountain and decide where to climb-and how high up to go.
To learn what experienced climbers know I went to where they are, at the top: the chief executive officers (CEOs) who have made the ascent themselves. I've picked some of the best mountaineers there are and included their experiences so you can witness the various qualities required and learn to make them your own.
You may not actually aspire to be the chief executive officer of your company, but you may still want to be the chief accountant, salesperson, administrator, or MIS person, or principal, division manager, editor, or head of whatever group you are in. With the right gear you can be.
This book is intended to give you a better understanding of the qualities that "chiefs" of organizations have and how to make them your own. Throughout the book I'll refer to actual chief executive officers and give you their perspectives because they have successfully made the climb themselves over several years and are best qualified to tell you what it takes from the very firmest of foundations.
Remember: Perhaps your current goal is not to get to the top of the hill but simply to avoid being pushed off. That's okay. (You may be more of a "hiker" than "climber" in the vernacular of this book.) To keep your job, or to move up, you still need to understand what a chief (i.e., your boss) expects from you.
As you learn the ropes you may decide it's not that difficult to stretch for the next ledge.
July 1, 1996
Benton (Lions Don't Need To Roar, Warner, 1992) has interviewed over 100 CEOs for this commonsense self-guide to the executive suite and interwoven their salient thoughts throughout her book. There are no mechanistic, murky theories here. Benton opens with 22 "vital traits," including being honest, detail-oriented, gutsy, and humorous, which are analogous to climbing tiers on a terraced mountain. She then describes the best route to the CEO spot, what to expect when you get there, and what you will do. Benton's guide deserves a reading, either to energize or reenergize the harried executive or new MBA.--Joan A. Traugott, Amityville, P.L., N.Y.
April 15, 1996
%% This is a multi-book review. SEE the title "The Corporate Mystic" for next imprint and review text. %% ((Reviewed April 15, 1996))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1996, American Library Association.)
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
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