Landing a seat in the executive board room

Posted on November 23, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Landing a seat in the executive boardroom

We are often asked about the qualifications and experience we are looking for in candidates for board positions. Similarly, executives are always keen to know what they can do to best position themselves as potential candidates for appointment to a board.

The boardroom is one of the places where character and experience reign supreme. Landing a role as a board member can be a prestigious and lucrative venture but board opportunities are rare.

Consider this, there are fewer than 4,000 U.S. companies listed by Nasdaq. According to, each of those companies has an average of 9.2 board members with 1.5 of those being inside directors. Therefore, the total number of seats available for outside directors is approximately 30,800.

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Do you possess these 5 traits to become a great executive leader?

Posted on November 13, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Do You Possess These 5 Traits to Become a Great Executive Leader?

If you’re approachable, a fast learner, and willing to take calculated risks, you already possess some of the traits to become a great leader. Aspiring executives will also benefit from their ability to communicate, network and demonstrate understanding with those they work with.

Although there is no exact formula for becoming a “great executive leader”, there are many common traits, strengths, and skills that the majority of great executive leaders possess. Learning how to acquire, develop and utilize these attributes can dramatically improve your career performance and help you to stand out among other executive candidates.

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Cyber Threats: How C-suite leaders can improve risk management

Posted on September 7, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Cyber threats

Our increased reliance on digital technology in everyday business means greater exposure to the risks associated with cyber security. However, safeguarding those systems and our even more valuable data requires a strategic approach led by executives, not just IT professionals.

Though cybersecurity is a common topic of conversation in today’s hyper-connected, digital world, companies may still be lagging when it comes to making security a priority. In spite of the focus on protecting networks and the sensitive information they hold, a recent survey by KPMG showed that 40% of audit committees felt their organization’s risk management programs and processes “require substantial work.”

Cyber threats are among the biggest risks to businesses today. They have the potential to harm workers, customers and a company’s reputation. Revenue may sag as a result of a data breach if clients and collaborators no longer trust the organization. A network intrusion could cost a firm its competitive advantage if intellectual property is stolen. Without a solid cybersecurity program in place, it may be just a matter of time before a breach throws a company into chaos.

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Practical advice for becoming a board member

Posted on August 29, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Practical advice for becoming a board member

We often have discussions with C-suite executives about their path to Board directorships. This pathway can be a lengthy process. The article below by Lisa Marsh, Marketing Manager at the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), provides some practical advice for individuals with Board aspirations.

The executive career goal of becoming a board director is one that is both highly coveted and highly challenging to actualize. Board member positions offer directors the opportunity to use their wealth of experience to tackle intellectual business challenges and influence the success of a chosen company. Despite there being many routes into the boardroom, below are our universal top tips for better positioning yourself for new board opportunities…

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Looking forward: Where the ever-changing CFO role stands

Posted on July 26, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Where the Ever-Changing CFO Role Stands

The Chief Financial Officer role requires a strong candidate able to lead the charge. But the qualifications needed and the route to get there is ever-changing. BlueSteps Executive Career Services Advisor, Debbie Ellis, discusses the status of the CFO position and the attributes needed to obtain a CFO position.

Over the past couple of decades, the C-Suite has overall expanded, continuously growing to pinpoint and meet targeted needs of an organization. It is now more apparent than ever that strong leadership skills and a strategic, forward-thinking mindset are necessary attributes for an executive pushing an organization’s growth, often even more so than technical and functional expertise. As such, the C-Suite has seen several senior-level functional roles added into the elite Chief roster and established C-Suite roles have been forced to re-evaluate the roles and responsibilities vital to meet the current needs of the function.

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Building personal relationships in a digital world

Posted on June 29, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Building personal relationships in a digital world

Use digital technology to enhance your relationships, not replace them with faceless and voiceless social media. Use video conferencing and teleconferences to engage with remote staff when one-on-one meetings are not possible, rather than risking disenfranchising staff via email.

In today’s digital world, communication practices are greatly impacted by technology. A report released by Radicati estimates that 269 billion e-mails will be sent and received each day in 2017. Everything about the search process is going digital, too. But while technology innovations have opened up new horizons for search firms and leadership consultants, giving them powerful new tools and a broader reach, it’s vital that they continue to make the personal connections that are so important to successful placement. A handful of strategies can help search professionals maintain high-touch relationships in a high-tech environment.

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Can your succession planning strategy survive the first engagement?

Posted on June 15, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Can your succession planning strategy survive the first engagement

Succession planning is difficult and many organisations simply don’t do it, don’t involve the right people or don’t set it in train early enough to mentor those on the way up.

Soldiers often comment that no battle plan survives the first encounter with the enemy. The stakes may be vastly different, but the same can often be said of succession planning, where even well-developed plans don’t always result in success. Putting together a succession strategy that will stand the test of time—and reality—can be a challenge.

Succession planning is difficult for companies all across the spectrum. Too many organisations simply don’t do it, or don’t pursue it with enough vigour to develop a truly effective plan able to fill the void if one of their executives were to leave the company unexpectedly. In research conducted by Stanford University, 46% of companies reported they were not grooming a specific executive to succeed the current CEO. In fact, 39% said they didn’t have any internal talent ready to take over the leadership of the company.

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Global trends in the executive job market

Posted on June 8, 2017 by BlueSteps Career Services
Article image: Global trends in the executive job market

Strong competition still exists worldwide for top executives, and they need to bring not only relevant skills, but also learning agility and thought leadership.

BlueSteps, the executive career management service by AESC, released their 2017 Executive Career Outlook Report offering insights on global executive-level career trends. The new report collects feedback from management-level professionals, from Director-level through C-suite, on their outlook for executive job opportunities across industries, functions and geographies in the year ahead.

Based on predictions by 1,219 senior management professionals worldwide, the mood among global management professionals is more optimistic about the global executive job market in 2017 compared to the same time last year. Executives worldwide understand there is fierce competition for top executive-level jobs, and today’s successful candidates for the C-suite must bring much more than relevant skills, but also learning agility and demonstrated thought leadership in their industries.

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Why Every Modern Executive NEEDS a LinkedIn Profile

Posted on November 17, 2016 by BlueSteps Career Services
LinkedIn profile laptop

It’s worth investing time in developing and maintaining your online profile through executive networks. LinkedIn is the most widely used platform for professionals seeking to build their personal brand, increase their visibility amongst the business community and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry, sector or field of specialisation.

Each year, as LinkedIn’s thriving global network continues to expand, having a searchable profile and online presence on the site is no longer optional; it is expected. Research shows that 80 percent of CEOs are now engaged online and are users of social media platforms; a figure which has doubled since 2010.

So, what is drawing global executives to LinkedIn, and why is it now a necessity?

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What is Succession Planning?

Posted on November 10, 2016 by BlueSteps Career Services
Succession planning steps

Recruiting the best talent available is an important strategic goal, but it’s also important to continually develop people within your organisation. Proving pathways for career progression, promotion, or creating other opportunities for employees corresponds with business growth. Succession planning is, therefore, critical for organisations of all sizes.

Have you considered that one of the major success factors for organisations are the people who work there? It is crucial to have the right people in the right place at the right time. But how do companies identify and develop these skilled people and leaders? Leading organisations recruit superior people, develop their knowledge, skills and abilities, and prepare them for advancement or promotion…

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