The Long and Winding Road


Jon Reinfurt

As many of you know, I often talk about small business owners becoming CEO’s, so I was quite intrigued when I saw this article in last week’s Sunday New York Times Business Section (read full article here) focused on what it takes for a young person starting his or her career to eventually become a CEO in the corporate arena. In particular, I wanted to see if the long and winding road to the CEO’s job in the corporate world was all that different than the long and winding road to the CEO’s job in the world of small business.

No one doubts that hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck are key factors for climbing the corporate ladder, but new evidence shows having experience in as many business’s functional areas as possible and building relationships within an industry may now be just as important.

Data from a new study by LinkedIn of almost a half million onetime management consultants showed that experience in one additional functional area improved a person’s odds of becoming a senior executive as much as three years of extra experience. Burning Glass, a firm that scours millions of job listings to determine labor market trends, found a surge in demand for hybrid jobs, that incorporate expertise in different fields such as both technology and finance.

If as as Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn says that to be a C.E.O. or other top executive, “You need to understand how the different parts of a company work and how they interact with each other and understand how other people do their job”, then indeed the same is just as true for a small business owner who wants to become a CEO. There really is no difference!

I urge you to read the full article and let me know what you think.