HOW TO GET VISIBILITY T THE C-LEVEL WITHOUT BECOMING A SYCOPHANT?
I ) From Clerk to COO:
GOOD NEWS!! No matter your position you can ALWAYS with K letters build a strong and trustful relationship with the top management
Don’t think that only people close to the CEO or the Executive Committee can have contact with them. It can be rather the other way around, as provocative as it may sound, the further away you are from power, the less distrustful the leaders will be.
Why? Because they will naturally see, your attitude as more authentic and selfless.
CEOs and senior executives are always looking for talents that can become tomorrow’s leaders and allies. Although it is never said, this is the reality in all the companies I have worked with.
And it is important to know that when you have two good profiles: an excellent but a slightly distant profile (who does not inspire confidence. That simply means that he has not worked on his human relations skills, in fact) and a good but not excellent profile who gives us the impression that one can trust him/her, the CEO does not think twice about it.
He will hire the second profile.
II ) Every Opportunity Counts :
In normal situations and even during Pandemic’s period:
Let’s separate our answer into our 3 previous scenarios
1) if you are someone from the inner circle, it is obviously easier
2) If you are in a middle position, you will have to take advantage of every professional and informal opportunity to approach the CEO. For example,
A) a Crisis Committee is set up during the COVID, so you propose yourself as a participant.
B) You can volunteer for the launch of a pilot project in your company? You do it!.
3) As an external consultant, you will have to gain the trust of the CEO, demonstrate a genuine interest in the company and know all the ins and outs of the company as well as political influence inside the organization.
What you need to be clear about is that every interaction counts and also that not every opportunity is a good one.
Another Key Opportunity are Executive Assistants:
They are the ones closest to him BUT YOU MUST KNOW EVEN having them as allies does not guarantee a trustful relationship with the CEO, HOWEVER, having them as enemies is the worst thing that can happen to you because they are going to harm you, postponing meetings, transmitting the wrong messages, badmouthing you…
So please, always COUNT ON THEM
III) Be As Useful As Invisible:
First of all, that means that in order to gain visibility with the CEO, he cannot get the impression that you are going to overshadow him.
Secondly, although it sounds strange, in order to gain his trust, you must be transparent to the rest, no just to him .
And thirdly, no matter your position, you need to try to become a shadow Special Advisor as the quickest and safest way to have a business career
IV) Talk About Others! :
When others do well, shout it from everywhere!!. You will avoid your colleagues perceiving you as Competition or feeling uncomfortable because you have a special relationship with the bosses.
The goal here is for them to understand that if you get along with the CEO, they win too it is a positive situation for Your colleagues too . The famous Win win strategy applies
V) Find and Solve Problems:
When you want to establish a TRUSTFUL relationship with the CEO for REAL and not just for APPEARANCE, you MUST BE USEFUL.
As an extra point here,
It is also important not to focus on trivialities: don’t waste your time and energy as your work capacity has also limits as anyone else (superman too)
VI) Be Truly Selfness:
We’ve been saying it before but it’s SO IMPORTANT!
Be discreet, authentic and selfness! Do not expect anything in return in the short term.
VII) Become His/Her Special Advisor:
Every CEO needs someone to tell him what is going on in the company, what is being said about him, about the changes, about the new strategy, about the new CFO or HR….
You must be the discreet, efficient, ambitious (in a positive sense), RIGHT HAND. Becoming his RIGHT HAND is the shortest way to reach the summit
Become a secret agent (the good kind): sincere, honest, smart, being in the shadows but active and always present
The rules of the game are as follows: If he wins, you win, it’s really a team mentality, a family mentality;
All as one! For this to be possible: TRUST is the key word.
VIII) Act As A Board Member:
A board member is someone with a strategic vision and who puts the interests of the company before their own interests.
A good board member understands the company from a global perspective and not only from a partial or detail-oriented perspective. What is important for him is to detect:
whether there is a trend, an important change in consumer behaviour, a dangerous competition. That is also the task of a person close to the CEO.
To increase your visibility to the CEO, You have to be someone people trust. This is also fundamental at a Board. Personal relationships are very important, remember that most promotions are not driven by skills but by relationships
And last but not least,
Our Last 5 Tips:
1- TO BE ALWAYS AUTHENTIC, SELFNESS & DISCRETE in order to be trustful
2- TO BE AWARE: COMPANY’S INTERESTS FIRST
3- TO BE ALWAYS VERY WELL PREPARED, TO BE PROFESSIONAL
4- TO THINK SMART (PRAGMATIC) TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
5- TO NEVER BE ALONE: CREATE YOUR WINNING TEAM