Four skills you need to be competitive in the c-suite job market

CEO leading team in office


Top-performing c-suite executives know that to keep one step ahead of the curb in the business world you need to continuously invest in self-development in order to help grow your career. 

As the highest-ranking executives in a company, c-suite professionals set the strategy and future direction of a business. They are responsible for leading their teams to success and ensuring that an organisation’ operations and strategies are in line with the business’s policies and plans. Because of this, professionals hoping to transition into the c-suite ranks may face high expectations and competitive demands when aiming for a c-level position. So in order to stay relevant in the c-suite job market, continuously improving your skills and business knowledge is vital. 

Sustainable, ethical and smart business expertise is essential in today’s trading climate. Having strong and up-to-date business skills will give you the power to play your part in improving global markets. If you are an aspiring c-suite executive wanting to position yourself at the forefront of business developments, here are five skills you can strengthen to help advance your career. 


Communication is important in any role, however, successful c-suite executives understand the significance of clear, concise and simplistic delivery. Being able to clearly define your brand values is a big part of being a good communicator, and creates a level of influence that ensures people are inspired to follow your lead. Successful leaders not only know how to clearly define their brand’s message but also know how to lead by example.  

Former CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz extended the company's storyline beyond being just about coffee. Schultz was passionate about Starbuck’s workplace culture and, “building a company that treats people with dignity and respect.” In focusing on these values, Schultz not only defined why the company exists to the outside world but also inspired his workers to stick to these values.  

Strategic thinking 

Considering the context and purpose of any decision or action- particularly on a global level- helps you adapt to unprecedented situations and provide innovative solutions. As the leader of a company, it is up to the CEO to be swift and agile in their decision-making skills. Being able to analyse and assess plans for the future will create the framework a company needs to follow in order to stay ahead of the competition and adapt to the constant changes in the market. This includes identifying growth opportunities for your business by understanding the changing needs of your existing customers and how to adapt to these changes.  

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was known for his innovation and strategic thinking. Jobs noticed people burning CDS on their personal computers for content online, something the Mac could not do. Thinking he had missed an opportunity in online entertainment, Jobs rethought the concept and developed iTunes software and iTunes store. This made it simple for people to buy and manage music from one site and store it on their iPod, completely transforming the entertainment industry. Having strategically considered all angles, a good CEO, like Jobs, will be prepared to deliver an effective course of action before the situation spirals out of control.  

Adaptive thinking  

Influential c-suite executives are always learning and can recognise that personal development is the key to continued success.  As a c-suite professional you have to constantly adapt your strategy in order to stay relevant. Therefore, having an adaptive mindset is vital in helping develop new-growth for your business.  

In 2013, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings released an 11-page memo to employees and investors detailing a commitment to move from distributing content digitally to become a leading producer of original content. Since revealing this new adaptive mindset, Netflix has tripled its revenue and profits have multiplied. This is not only an example of adapting to changing markets, but also adapting the circumstances around you. Hastings helped Netflix stay innovative and ahead of its competitors by adapting to the change in digital markets and customer demand.  

People skills 

Senior executives need to be active listeners and know-how to pose the right questions and feedback to their team. An effective leader achieves this by exhibiting strong people skills, by connecting with their employees on a personal level and acting as a trusted mentor. Another component of this is understanding that you need the entire organisation to collaborate and think the same way. This is done through frequent communication between employers and senior leadership, helping teams stay engaged.  

Former CEO, Larry Page of Alphabet (a parent company of Google), hosted frequent employee conference calls called TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday). This session gave employees the opportunity to discuss ongoing company objectives and action items. All employees were encouraged to ask questions and collaborate. An exercise like this not only helps build a personal relationship with your employees but also encourages all teams to share and question ideas.  

Get the skills you need to succeed  

In the age of new technologies and progressive business practices, staying ahead depends on continual self-education and your willingness to adapt. Studying an MBA could be the key to unlocking the next chapter of your career. 

Griffith University’s accelerated online MBA can help you achieve the key skills mentioned in this article. With three core values of responsible leadership, sustainable business practices and an Asia-Pacific perspective, Griffith’s Online MBA will equip you with the skills necessary to become a successful business leader. 

To find out how Griffith’s accelerated online MBA can help boost your career, speak to one of our Enrolment Advisors today by calling us on 1300 737 945 or scheduling a call for a time that suits you.  

Meet our MBA Program Director
Previous article
How to evaluate the best online MBAs in Australia and globally
Next article