Distilling the comments, it came down to demonstrating:
- Acceptance of Increased Responsibility
- Courageousness – Make the hard decisions
- Vision and Leadership
- Ability to Influence colleagues at all levels
- Willingness to Move (to another company)
In my own experience the last two factors rise above the rest.
One, after having built a solid professional background, access to senior roles is easier to achieve by changing companies. In an existing company, the memory of those around you (above/below) can constrain your move upwards. If people remember you as an effective support tech from a decade prior, they may have a hard time seeing you in a managerial role—even if your most recent roles have had $MM impact. Consider relieving yourself of legacy baggage by making a fresh start.
Second, and I believe perhaps most important, is the ability to influence others. As a senior manager, it is incumbent upon you to not only lead your own organization but, quite often, to drive for change in areas outside your organization, so that your own teams can perform ever better. If you do not have the ability to effectively influence others your level of achievement will be subdued.
If you are in a senior leadership role, or have been, what is your perspective?