How do you effectively move up the corporate ladder and make changes with impact? It’s a huge challenge that was researched and reported on in this report: Ascending to the C-suite.

The report focuses on managers moving into senior roles and it opens with “nearly half of top executives say they weren’t effective at earning support for their new ideas when they moved into C-suite roles—and more than one-third say they have not successfully met their objectives during their tenures”.

This struck me as being shocking – not having the support to achieve what you need to in the job. Whilst I’m not vying for a Chief-level job any time soon, I am master and commander of my own business and am at a point of looking at the development of Lightbulb Moment for the next one to three years. In essence, I’m looking at some of the challenges mentioned in this report and it’s time to focus on number one – me!




A point that was found in the research was that “only 27% of respondents believe their organisations had the right resources or programs in place to support their move into a C-level role”. This means to me that I need support if I want to further develop my business. As my company is largely just myself, with some partnerships and out-sourcing, this doesn’t leave me with a support structure inside my organisation.

What I can do though, is find my support elsewhere. This can be through my Personal Learning Network on things like Twitter, or with other businesses owners where we support each other. I can also look into things such as business or personal coaching and so on.

Something for me to consider, as I know I can be a bit of a loner when it comes to this kind of development. This is important as “executives who have made successful transitions… are twice as likely as all others to say they received company support”. Food for further thought.

Another clear point was that “there’s no clear deadline, though, for executives to move effectively and comfortably into their new roles” and I interpret that to mean I should take whatever time I need for research, support and decision making.

Next steps

In the report one piece of advice was to “be purposeful” and not get distracted with “delivering short-term business results”. That’s quite powerful for me as I know I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, perhaps fantasising, in the last year about my business development, with not as much action as I wanted. What I have done is focus a lot on my customers and fulfilling those contracts to the absolute best of my ability. This is excellent, as I feel that Lightbulb Moment has a very good reputation and gets business by word of mouth. However it did mean that there wasn’t the time to put into self-development. I’m now in a position to change the focus away from the short-term.

Another nugget was to “think holistically about [their] new responsibilities and identify the nuances of each aspect [so they can] take purposeful action”. This means to me not to rush in, as I wrote earlier, and to perhaps think and plan the elements I want to develop a little more than I have in the past.

It’s going to be an interesting year!



  1. mmm a lot of food for thought – you rightly say you need to focus on you and your development – the key part here is that we can not expect organisations to be responsible for our development – we have to ‘make it happen’ after all it is ‘our’ development. What L&D in organisations need to do is support people in defining what they need to develop in, individualising the approach but also ensuring the person takes responsibility to make it happen. As an L&D professional myself I am undertaking my own development – yes this is a significant cost to me but I believe long term this will pay dividends!!

  2. Moving up the corporate ladder is all about relations. You can move up the ladder easily if you have a good relationship with everyone. The sole reason so many people move up is that they have good relations.

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