It used to be common for CEOs to boast resumes that reflected steady vertical progress through the ranks of a single industry. While there are still some who stick to a particular career silo in this way, versatility and diversity have become much more the norm. It is certainly not the case that a top leader can apply entirely generic principles to help a company in any particular industry succeed. On the other hand, it increasingly seems to be clear that exploring and experiencing different industries over the course of a high-powered career is the best way of developing a universally applicable perspective.
This can be seen in the career trajectories of many of today’s most successful and ambitious business-world achievers. Learning about Jim Tsokanos and his career at a site like LinkedIn, for example, will make it clear that moving from one industry to another can be valuable. Even in cases where the industries in question are fairly disparate and distinct, in fact, enough of a bridge will often be created in the process that professional development will continue without pause or distraction.
For Tsokanos, for instance, years spent in the public relations industry included enough experiences of different sorts that he became well prepared to make the leap to a very different sector. Being tasked at his most significant early position with unifying a number of smaller operations under a single brand, he developed skills that can serve any business leader well.
When a new opportunity appeared in an entirely different industry, Tsokanos was eager to take on the challenge. The move soon saw him standing at the helm of a significant and rapidly growing hospital network, with controlling costs being the top priority right from the start. Although the work he has undertaken there differs in almost every conceivable way from his previous leadership assignment, enough overlap in the skills required is apparent that plenty of progress has been made.
What will result in the end is a better rounded leader with the ability and perspective needed to take on challenges of entirely different kinds. That is a typical goal for many modern executives, and something that boards of directors increasingly value the most.