Jenni, a Vice President at a technology start-up, describes what she loves most about her job, its challenges, and her key decisions & realizations. Reading the book, "What Color Is Your Parachute?" was a turning point - it helped her discover her core strengths.
Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and public or private-sector organizations.
The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, on the other hand, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.
Companies may also have chief officers who lead various departments or focus on specific areas of work. Here are some examples:
Chief financial officers are accountable for the accuracy of a company’s or organization’s financial reporting, especially among publicly traded companies. They direct the organization’s financial goals, objectives, and budgets. For example, they may oversee the investment of funds and manage associated risks.
Chief information officers are responsible for the overall technological direction of an organization, which includes managing the information technology and computer systems. They organize and supervise information-technology-related workers, projects, and policies.
Chief operating officers oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.
Chief sustainability officers address sustainability issues by enacting or overseeing a corporate sustainability strategy. For instance, they may manage programs and policies relating to environmental issues and ensure that the organization complies with environmental or other government regulations.
Top executives may complete a certification program through the Institute of Certified Professional Managers to earn the Certified Manager (CM) credential. To become a CM, candidates must meet education and experience requirements and pass three exams. Although not mandatory, certification can show management competency and potential leadership skills. Certification also can help those seeking advancement or can give jobseekers a competitive edge.