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Rising Through The Ranks

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If you study the careers of many successful CEOs, you will discover many have risen through the ranks of the organizations they currently work for, often working, just prior to their promotion to the executive level, as brand, product, or marketing managers. (The executive level includes Vice Presidents and Presidents of organizations, the CFOs, and others.) This is good news for managers who aspire to the executive level of their corporation � and a strong indicator that the skills they are developing in their current positions will be directly applicable to and valuable in higher positions.

It should also let managers know that they're not being ignored. Rather, they are quite possibly being trained for additional responsibilities or mentored to fill future vacancies as job opportunities may arise.

For employees who do not aspire to be the CEOs of their current organizations or do not see that happening in the foreseeable future, working as a product, brand, or marketing managers is also excellent preparation and a fertile training ground if they have entrepreneurial aspirations. Many former managers go on to start their own companies or businesses and thus really do end up being the CEOs of their own small organizations.

Many of the skills and attributes that served them well as managers also apply to owning or managing a business of their own. Management of finances, staff, time, and other resources; paying attention to customer requests and complaints; studying customers to learn how to best appeal to them with a particular product; creating a brand for a product or organization; and other duties of these managers are functions they will also perform as the CEOs or small business owners.

In fact, in many smaller companies, brand management and company management are closely linked, as are product management and company management, and marketing management and company management. When a small organization is just beginning, one or two people may be performing all of these functions.

For middle managers, all of this is good news and suggests that in excelling at their current positions, they will develop the skills necessary to succeed at the executive levels of either their organizations or of the companies they decide to start themselves. So when the going gets tough and it seems like no one appreciates their positions ''in the middle'', as the go-between that separates the front-line workers from the executives or complaining customers from the executives, it's helpful to remember that their current positions are a lot like CEO training camps. They might be tough to handle at times, but they are means to better ends.
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