Getting Corporate Leaders Coming to You
Don’t worry about getting noticed by senior leadership; care but don’t worry. Mike Myatt said, “Great leaders don’t need to worry about influencing the C-Suite, the C-Suite will always come to them.”
Organizations don’t need needy people.
Doug Conant remarked, “Don’t try too hard to connect with senior leadership.” Doug illustrated his point from his High School days. “It seemed the harder I tried to get dates the harder it was. When I forgot about getting dates, I got them.”
John Bell said, “I’m not impressed with people who are managing their careers. They’ll put themselves before the organization. Deal with politics but don’t be political.”
Trying too hard makes things hard.
Make a difference where it counts.
“Be the internal expert.” John Spence. Find a strategic space where you can shine. Myatt adds, “Don’t just push the envelope, push the right envelope, for the right reason, at the right time.”
Deliver strategic value.
Become an expert at what matters. Determine organizational priorities and intelligently join the conversation. Spence suggests forwarding useful articles to key players.
For example, suppose your organization is getting into LEAN. Know more about LEAN than anyone else. Stay up at night studying LEAN. If you cut your finger, LEAN should come out. Become Captain LEAN.
Be the champion that moves the organization forward.
Doug Conant addes, “Focus on moving the company forward not moving you forward. It’s all about the idea not you.” Conant went on to say, “Don’t try to control the idea. I always believed if I took care of the company the company would take care of me.”
Forget the credit:
Your work has its own voice. If you’re not getting the credit you deserve, it won’t help to grab it.
Have you seen people trying too hard to get noticed?
What do rising stars bring to the table?
Previous Posts in this series:
“How to Connect with the C-Suite” — The further away from the C-Suite you are the further away you should stay.
“Please Help Me Connect with My CEO” — Conform! If you don’t fit in you’re a dangerous lose cannon. Fit in before standing out.
More tomorrow on connecting with the C-Suite. Thanks to the following leaders for their interviews. (Listed in order of their interview):
Dr. John Snyder
Love what you said about focusing on the company and not on yourself. I have found in my organization that when I focused to help others achieve more is when I got noticed. Now I try to model that for others (but then again, my organization is one where we want to be servant leaders and lead from our seats!). Thanks for the reminders, though!
I wish you continued success. Thanks for the affirmation. Cheers
“If you cut your finger, LEAN should come out.” – Nice!
Being the expert inherently means you will get the credit you deserve. If not immediately then eventually. But don’t take being the expert to mean you read the book, you really need to know your stuff.
I completely agree, if you are the go to source for senior leadership on any topic… they will recognize you.
Thanks for joining in. Love the expression, “go to person.”
Even if you don’t get recognized, holding back usually doesn’t take you very far.
I just read an article that advised that the “go to” person should pass along the information and manage a “go to” team in order to move up in the company. The C-Suite will notice the leadership and if you take care of the company, it should take care of you.
Good post, as always, Dan.
What is important to an organization is people who shine at moving the organization forward, not those who want to use the organization to move themselves forward.
And, yes, your work, and your intelligent voice when it matters will make people notice. People are turned off when you push yourself into the spotlight.
Work diligently. Work well. And work on the things that matter. They will see you.
I’m used to finding you here and appreciate it. thank you.
“Turned Off” I think I’ll write a post on how to turn off the CEO.
I’ve been thinking about folks who have weak, insecure leaders who steal their ideas. It’s sad. It happens. But holding back doesn’t help either. Just put yourself out there for the good of the org.
Organizations do not need needy people. It is so true. I position myself on C suite and think this is right. Organizations need committed and passionate people. Organizations need people who can understand and share with vision achievement. Leaders need people who can be easily molded into the system without much effort. They do not people who are inflexible and full of inertia. Creating values for the organization is more important than creating values of you. Organizations expect you to think for the organization development. Yes I have seen people trying too hard to get noticed. And unfortunately, these people are more frustrated than others. They are more position centric and prestige centric. They are more likely to compromise. Rising stars bring reputation, trust and relationship to the table. They measure their success in these terms. They do not believe in only getting position on any cost.
Like a trusted friend, I find you here. Thank you.
Trying too hard to get noticed creates frustration. So true. And frustration doesn’t enhance your career either.
An interesting post with good practical tips. Work diligently, be the champion, forget the credit and suggest better ways for an organization to move forward are the best ways to get noticed in a natural way. Successful people build their careers with such type of inherent habits. Learn to contribute and have better initiative to suggest new things that can shape the future of an organization.
However, middle level managers at times get lost when they find that their genuine efforts are not taken in the right spirit by their immediate superiors and top management remaining usually silent. Things get jeopardized in the hierarchy level conflicts. Is there any remedy to this kind of situation? I had experienced such things in my own career,
Thank you so much for bringing up the problem of getting lost in the middle. I think that is so true and a real concern for people. I’ll have to write about how not to get lost and how to get your ideas to the right people. I think it’s an important topic.
As always, thank you for joining the conversation.
Believe in what you deliver. Be passionate and positive about it, but not overly emotional. Genuine positivity can go a long way too. As Dan noted with Lean-excellent example of believing in what you have to offer to organization.
Find others who are looking at ways to improve the organization and/with themselves. Build that cadre, that champions group. They can provide support and push you to continue improving when you plateau. It can be a periodic lunch meeting group or a more formalized learning/training set up.
Respect pace and timing. Even if you know what will help improve the organization now, respect that 1) there are other batters in the rotation, they get their due, 2) you timeline is not the organization’s timeline-just because you had an awesome practice and were hitting them out of the park, still doesn’t mean its your turn, 3) you never know when you will be the designated hitter, so be ready. Your idea/role will have the opportunity, be consistently ready to hit.
To shift the metaphor, plant seeds, don’t expect them all to germinate at the same time-but do give them periodic light, water and nutrients.
Doc, you’ve mentioned pace and timing before, and it’s a great reminder. Impatience causes more stupid actions than stupidity does.
As always you bring us useful insights. Thank you.
I love the idea of the champions group. This idea hadn’t crossed my radar but I think it makes sense. I can see a small group sitting around after work figuring out how to have great impact on the organization.
I can see them exploring each others talents and supporting each other.
Any senior leader seeing that type of team leadership would take notice.
Thanks for stopping in my friend,
Don’t usually talk about this because, except to me, I’m a boring topic. But my career, I think, illustrates the point.
Early on, a mentor told me not to think about promotion, just to do my job like it was the most important one in the world, because for me it was.
Following that advice, I made Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel below the zone (ahead of my peer group) and was up for promotion again when I got out as a Colonel. When I commanded my battalion, I was the youngest battalion commander in the division. At my current job, I’ve gone from a supervisor to being, I guess, C-level or at least C-minus. We’re not organized that way but I’m in the management inner circle that works directly with the President, and when folks ask for the COO he points to me.
Never in all of that did I once try to figure out what my next job might be or how to get there, I just poured everything into the job I had, and into acquiring the skills to help out my boss. Outcome: I was recruited for every step I made up the military and corporate ladders. Maybe I’m done moving up, maybe I’m not. Don’t really care, because the job I have is the most important one in the world.
Do your job like that and people above you start to ask for you. There are enough self-promoters and along-for-the-ride folks out there that diligent workers may as well be painted in neon, they stick out that well.
You honor us with your story. Reading your comments on previous posts and our phone conversation all validate your words.
A story like yours will encourage others.
“The job I have is the most important one in the world” … golden!
“Deal with politics, Don’t be political.” — BRILLIANT
Yes, I have seen ppl trying too hard to get noticed without putting in the requisite amount of effort; I have seen people trying too hard to get noticed whose peers are all aware that the individual’s capacity and capabilities are not what they are trying to get the C-suite to notice. I guess I am old school but I have seen people who don’t think they have to pay their dues and that they should just ASCEND. Maybe it happens that way but I think those people miss making some important connections that they may need in the long run.
While reading this post, though, I also wondered when someone who is doing all the things they’re supposed to do – contributing for the good of the organization as a whole, delivering internal value, having what is needed when it is needed – but the corporate dynamics lead to them being taken for granted as opposed to appropriately recognized – how does that get handled?
The issue you bring up in the second paragraph is real. My wife and I were just discussing this. People are overlooked. Ideas are stolen. Credit is not given. It can be a bitter pill to swallow.
Sadly, just doing good work doesn’t always work, at least in the short term.
I keep coming back to withholding good work because we’re overlooked doesn’t work either. Do great work and find a new job.
Still, it is tough to take.
The other issue is, no one really appreciates me like I do. No one understands the effort etc.
On the other hand, sometimes people over appreciate a small thing that took little effort.
I’m just babbling around this topic to say a concern for being appreciated or getting credit has to be down the list of priorities.
Oh well, I better sign off.
I’m thankful for your insights, questions, and contributions.
What do rising stars bring to the table? They bring the difference that matters, that’s what…
I have always been a proponent of good work. Perform your work like the world depends on it. Offer yourself for a task, and perform it with excellence. I especially identify with what John Bell says, “Deal with politics but don’t be political.” When I was 25 years old, I was fired from my job. At first, I was very bitter about this as I knew it was ‘political’. I did not suck up to a member of the C-suite, as she would have loved me to. When the wrong envelope was being pushed, I would offer my thoughts and respectfully decline to be involved in shoddy deals. She engineered my departure.
However, something interesting happened on my last day. I was debriefing with the Project Coordinator and he realized the mistake that had been made. At the end of the debrief, I walked away with a 1-year consultancy contract that paid much more than the position I had just been fired from. In a sense, my firing was a promotion! Why did it pan out this way? I believe that it was my pursuit of excellence in every activity I undertook. My focus had always been to move the organization forward, and in this case, the organization took care of me.
Now 11 years later, I can say I am in the equivalent of a C-suite in my organization. Don’t worry about the C-suite, care about what quality you bring to the C-suite. Then the C-suite will come to you, because you add value. You matter!
I love a well crafted sentence. Your opening sentences have real power. “they bring the difference that matters”
Great comment with affirmations that should help folks who want to enhance their careers.
Thank you for adding value.
True , the desparation to get noticed laeds to frustation and may end up loosing the focus instead getting it . but what about power brokers who are always there to create the barriers and walls and hijack the credential which should be yours . I also agree we should continue to work harder and should not try to be get noticed , time will reward , but is there any limitation for tiem , unless you are very much sure about the outcome .
Lets us believe it and go ahead
IT is so true that there are people who break the system. These people actually create disharmony and dis balance in the organization. I also feel there is limitation to these kind of people. But it is true that time will reward your effort. It is also true that no one can shadow sun, moon and the truth.
The issue of how long to stay if you feel you are being overlooked is important. Thanks for bringing it up.
Is the roadblock leaving… then stay.
Is there a new opportunity… then go.
New opportunities may not always pay better. They may enhance skills, provide growth, and increase upward mobility.
thanks for joining the conversation,
I think if you have passion for the things you do, things come easier. It is important to find the place where you can relax and enjoy your work… If I’m doing things I enjoy, the time and effort seems not to matter as much. I think desperation a lot of times, we create ourselves by being in situations out side of our element. We end up trying to make something happen instead.
I was just speaking with a corporate leader. We discussed the value of finding your true north and sticking with it. It prevents us from being pushed around.
Our passions help us identify and express our true north..
Thank you for joining the conversation. I hope you come back soon.
I really loved this article. You are so spot-on with these recommendations. Thanks for reaffirming that it is ok to specialize, focus and work really hard at being great. I always wondered if my distaste for politics was right or wrong. Much needed message.
thanks again! Lane
Thank you for an affirmation. A good word is encouraging and you encourage me.
I’d say this is a post about genuine passion for excellence. I like this part: “Deal with politics but don’t be political.”