The Next Level in Driving Your Own Executive Career Ascent

The move from management to executive can be a challenging one, detailed below is a high level view of the competencies required to develop early in one’s management career to be considered well equipped for a seat on the exco. These competencies are key to performance at the executive level. Research shows that generally people do not have high levels of these skills. It is possible to learn and improve your abilities.

  • Dealing with Ambiguity – This skill requires that one copes well with change and is able to shift gears and handle risk and uncertainty comfortably without having the total picture in place
  • Innovation Management – This skill shows up in the ability to take creative ideas and successfully bring them to market. It requires management of the development process and the ability to tease out which creative output will be economically viable.
  • Negotiating – Good negotiators achieve results and settle differences with a minimum of disruption. They know how to be diplomatic or take a tough stance when the situation calls for it. They are especially skilled at wining concessions without damaging relationships. They don’t always need to win and manage their time well.
  • Perspective – Requires the ability to think globally and understand multiple aspects of issues and project them into the future whilst not being distracted by potential red herrings in the form of seeing connections that don’t exist. Individuals who are skilled in this competency take a broad view whilst remaining anchored in the present.
  • Political Savvy – Understands that corporate politics are a necessary part of the corporate world and can manoeuvre through them effectively and quietly.
  • Strategic Agility – Includes the ability to accurately anticipate future trends and their consequences married with a future orientation that facilitates the creation of competitive breakthrough strategies and plans
  • Managing Vision and Purpose – Requires the communication of a compelling inspired vision or core sense of purpose that is accessible by all. This person can motivate entire units or organisations.


Research shows that, inter alia, the factors that are an impediment to success or lead to termination include the inability to adapt to difference, a lack of ethics and values, a failure to staff effectively, performance problems, being non-strategic, defensiveness and poor administration.

The competencies above may seem obvious but the ability to develop or avoid them is not. Amrop Woodburn Mann can assist companies to run development competency surveys for senior executives which enhance individuals' ability to lead organisations and perform at work thereby impacting an organisation’s profitability and long term sustainability.