Back-Office C-Level Execs Continue to Battle for Recognition

Struggling to work your way from the back of the line is never an easy task, as TechRepublic’s Mary Shacklett reminds us in an assessment of those C-Level officers who must fight to survive in today’s career world. Analysts from Heidrick & Struggles (ironic title, no?) find that among the most successful CEOs, about 30% have knowledge of corporate finance, and 20% come from backgrounds in sales and marketing.

All Talk and No Traction

But this need not apply to the backroom C-Suite officer, the HR, IT, or customer service leader. Not everyone wants to work up to the CEO pinnacle. What really matters is that these back-office brawlers can have their voices heard at the head table. One way to view this dichotomy is by comparing how a company markets itself versus how it prioritizes internal functions. If people are the greatest priority of your company, how important is HR? If innovation is the pride of the enterprise, where does the CIO sit at the executive table?

Give Me Solutions, or Give Me Death

Oftentimes CEOs are looking for solutions, not limitations. Therefore new ideas are essential for the CIO or HR manager who wants to advance their voice to the helm of the organizational ship. Compliance is important, but from the line manager’s perspective, revenue and production targets are the real prize.

Aim Long, Win Big

With this in mind, it pays to walk a day in the chief of chief’s shoes. Think of every problem as the business’s problem, and you’re well on your way to building office cred in the C-suite. Business victories that come from “behind” are like soccer goals scored from the backfield, touchdowns made from the kickoff catch, or a three-point shot from behind the half court line. If a CIO orchestrates the development of a revenue generating app – score!

Represent the Backroom

But the all-important quarterly results are not the only thing the company needs. Once in a while, a backroom business officer needs to trumpet loud and clear how their function is benefiting (even indirectly) the core values of the enterprise.

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