John C.’s Answer
You're in luck, I've actually already been the CEO of an international arts and entertainment organization. I've also had a number of top tier executive roles such as COO and CLO.
The best thing you can do for now is to study the practices of those who've made it into the position you want to achieve. That comes with a few caveats of course. For instance if you want to be the CEO of a music company, don't hold your breath. That industry is dead in the water. Rethink what you can offer to an industry to make it more profitable, stable, adaptable and a good investment for others.
Understand that what makes most great executives great, no matter what kind they are, is that they are continual self governed learners. You have to enjoy really digging into new information and you need to learn skills on how to disseminate that information and apply it right away. Information without application is just wasted effort!
Also, learn how to set and keep a schedule. Trust me there will be a million things to drag you away from success. You need to have focus and purpose and a laser like concentration of effort to achieve your goals. It's pretty hard at times actually, but in time you'll develop your system and become far better at it.
You also need to understand that there's work time and family time and personal time. Don't think for a second you can cruise social media and be a CEO. A CEO hires a social media person to do that and to brief the executive on what's going on with that function. Again, focus and achieve!
Learn to delegate! You can't do it all by yourself, you must pick good people to help and advise you...predominantly those who do their thing way better than you could ever hope to. If you don't think they're brilliant and you don't trust them to do the very best for you...never hire them. Everything else is a detail. Give a clear open honest set of objectives and task people accordingly. Also, reward people and make a point to congratulate them personally and in front of the team. Give credit to those who've done something worthy of praise! I've learned over many years in business that people will do the impossible if you tell them they can.
Be smart but also be emotionally smart. It's known as EQ...emotional intelligence. I've totally used someone's lack of EQ to completely manipulate them into an untenable position before. Remember this core lesson, you are never the victim! As soon as you accept the victimology trap, you are done, you have lost! Millions of people live in the ghetto of American cities because they've accepted a victim mentality and once in it, there's a very steep wall to climb to leave it. It's easy to do too...I grew up dirt poor on an abandoned farm with two parents who never finished high school. I've been that victim, I was even trained by my poor community to be a victim. Once I made the mind shift to refuse being a victim and got my head straight, I became a raging success!
I have four degrees and I've long out earned my entire family history of income. I carry no debt. Once when I was doing a TV interview the host of the talk show looked at me and said, you're 37...you could be 90 years old with all you've accomplished. That's a moment you can be proud of!
So early on here's what I want you to do. Go find people who run legal businesses you really respect. Remember legal because they have to deal with all the crazy government regulations and taxes. Illegal businesses or those just run fly by night are cheaters and can't teach you anything except how to steal and scam people. There's no future in that.Ask them for a chance to intern for them. Do anything they need and don't fear making any mistakes. Do whatever it is they ask you to try. You'll start seeing what you're good at pretty quickly. Make yourself valuable to them and start thinking about ways to cut costs and increase cash flow. Start working on your vocabulary. Read a page of a dictionary everyday and again use those words as fast as you can. Work them into normal casual conversation. No matter how smart you may be, if you sound like an idiot or speak unclearly, you'll be labeled and left doing something dumb and boring at the office. You want to be the best in everything you do to make real results. If you can't do this with little things, you'll never be an executive anything.
Once you start doing something meaningful, go get yourself a LinkedIn account and begin to network with those doing what you do at a higher level. You've got to play with the big boys if you want to be the superstar. Establish a resume and get engaged with people. Make real professional relationships and go network with those people in person. Making a great in person first impression is super critical to long term opening of doors and opportunities.
Also, follow the threads of those on LinkedIn you respect. Read articles by key people of merit and give them a critical eye and scrutiny when reflected against your business situations and needs. Remember real CEOs read on average five books and about 100 trade articles every month. Sometimes not as many actual books are read since so much is released via kindles and PDFs etc... Regardless, all that material is basically a free living breathing business academy delivered to your inbox. Never turn down free information. Information is power, power is money, money is influence, influence is control over conditions, circumstances, difficulties etc...
Alright bro, you've got a lot of work to do...go tare it up! Find me when you're set up on LinkedIn and we'll convert this diatribe into a conversation.
John C. Luna