When you present what you're attempting to accomplish at work, do you discuss it in terms that the CEO would care about?
Come on now, does s/he really care about getting you more headcount, or performance management, succession planning, learning & development agendas, corporate culture ... or employment branding for that matter? Yes, and no. Mostly, those topics are boring. Necessary evils.
When talking about your important little program, expect the CEO to listen, nod, and smile politely -- while s/he secretly can't wait for you to leave the room so they can get to work on the truly important things. Like closing deals which will generate revenue. Or consulting with the folks who help enhance the company's profit margins. Or doing media interviews. Or reading positive press about the company. Or delighting in an "up" day for the company stock. See a pattern here?
You know what the CEO really cares about?
I boil it down to three things:
RAP for short.
Now, admiration may look like an odd one in the mix. When I think of admiration, I think of everything that can help build the value, and perceived value, of the company. (Public company CEOs have a top goal of improving shareholder value; they also generally have egos which drive them to win -- and a stock price is a VERY public score card.) While it would be gauche for a CEO to admit it, they love to get admiration from their industry peers, employees, customers, shareholders, competitors, and next door neighbors. They need not be shy about this desire. All that admiration is contagious, and it works to build the brand, the value, and start the next funnel of revenue generation.
Are you playing the admiration card enough? Subtly of course, but don't forget to include it on your "TO DO" list if you want to impress the boss and do something that matters to those concerned with building value, or perceived value, of the company.
Building admiration generally happens from the "outside-in." (Are you too internally focused?) It can involve getting awards, positive media attention, best practice case studies, keynotes, analyst upgrades, and competitive wins.
So if you're working to "get a seat at the big table," or trying to get your pet initiative off the ground, remember to RAP it, if you want to get the attention of the CEO.
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Of all the presentations you saw this week, how many tied the goal back to what needs to be done for the bottom line health and vitality of the business?
I spent 15 years working directly for FORTUNE 500 CEOs. Maybe it was just the ones I worked with, but I saw what got their juices flowing, and what didn't. And let me tell you this, they LOVED it when the value of their company was higher than their number one competitor.
If you happen to be in the C-suite and could use more help in the RAP department, contact me. Helping CEOs and Companies become bigger than they really are in the eyes of the world is my favorite thing to do.
Thanks for reading and engaging.