Top 10 Ways to Tick Off CEOs
If you aren’t concerned about ticking off the CEO, you should be. It’s easy to irritate high level leaders who operate in high pressure environments, especially if you aren’t part of the inner circle.
Senior leaders expect mid-levels to prove their value and earn their place; they did. They can smell a sense of entitlement and it makes them sick.
Mike Myatt’s top 10 ways to tick off CEOs:
- Waste their time.
- Present spin and half-truths.
- Serve up opinions as facts.
- Promote yourself, blatantly.
- Offer ideas and initiatives not in alignment with corporate values and vision.
- Disregard corporate culture.
- Overlook resourcing realities.
- Poor timing.
- Lack of impact awareness across the enterprise.
- Propose all strategy and no tactics and vice-versa.
The number one CEO irritant is time wasters. “Waste their time twice and you’re done.” John Spence.
Time wasters aren’t prepared.
Hone your idea and your presentation. Warning! Your ideas sound great until you present them in the CEOs office.
John Spence’s top 10 tips for presenting to CEOs:
- Great ideas are easily communicated.
- Simplify complexity.
- Offer clear bullet points.
- Explain impact.
- Describe differentiation.
- Highlight return on investment.
- Define profits.
- Outline savings.
- Speak briefly; nothing more than three minutes, initially.
- Pull out the full version after the short version flies.
Time wasters can’t explain compelling value.
Dr. John Snyder said, “Be prepared to clearly explain the compelling value your idea creates for customers. I’m looking for data driven value generation.”
Organizational values define compelling value.
“The second most important value is greater employee engagement.” Snyder obviously values engagement. Wise mid-levels speak to values.
What ticks senior leaders off?
What’s convincing to senior leadership?
More on connecting with the C-Suite, tomorrow. Thanks to the following leaders for their interviews. (Listed in order of their interview):
Dr. John Snyder
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Not too shabby Dan.
Bullet point ~ Compelling, Concise & Credible.
Thanks for starting today’s conversation and for the 3 C’s. nice.
You practice what you preach.
Glad to see you are on the mend. Being from PA (and going to college in Williamsport), I’m familiar with Geisinger’s talent and care – you were indeed in good hands!
As for today’s post, while your audience may traditionally look to your insight to influence their own company’s world, as a sales executive, this is doubly important when speaking with a potential (or existing) client’s executive team. I will most likely be forwarding this to our sales group as a gentle reminder.
Thanks for your efforts – I hope your recovery is going as well as you hope!
Lets have coffee sometime… 🙂
Your take on how this post might apply to others is right on. In the beginning, I was motivated to share how to influence sr. leaders from outside the organization. This morphed as I started writing.
Thanks for asking about my recovery. I am doing well. Hip Therapy started this week. I’m shooting to be full weight bearing on my right like in 5 more weeks.
Deal on the coffee – the place downtown (3rd Ave.?) does a nice job. I hope to make my way up there again soon and take you up on it.
Deal…let me know when.
Following today’s theme, my comment is, “YES”. Have you ever read something and you just want to say “yes”. This is it. Following these bullet points will serve you well in so many situations. For me less concerned about revenue and expenses, but top of my list is differentiation; both as a company and as a leader, i.e. the writings of Edwin Friedman.
These posts about c-suite have been “YES”.
Your focus on differentiation problem supports the idea of speaking to values. If I want to influence you I need to address your value of differentiation.
You encourage me, thank you.
I think accountability tick off senior leaders. You should realize them their accountability in the system. Most of the time, practices differ from policies and due to this middle level employees suffer. So, you should question why prevalent practices are different. You should reflect your values and tick them off by asking entitlements. Recently, my case studies were selected in more than 10 international conferences in India. I showed to my boss. He appreciated me but when it came to provide me entitlement, senior leaders had different excuses. What I mean to say, many times top leaders are not aware by the cooking stories of middle level leaders (manipulators). And in the process creativity, encouragement and commitment suffer.
What convincing to senior leadership is appreciating his or her idea? Do not challenge their ideas. Even if it is needed to challenge, put facts and figures and show the values. True leaders love to be challenged but manipulator hate to be challenged.
Your comment reminds me that good leaders like straight shooters. Tell it like it is… with respect, intelligence, and a broad view of the organization.
I always look for you when I log in. Thanks for being here.
I like Mike Myatt’s 10 ways to tick of a CEO. I would convert the 10 ways into 10 questions to be answered before presenting anything to a CEO.
1. Waste their time. – When is the best time to talk? [Based on a column I wrote regarding willpower, the best time is between 8:30AM and 10:30AM.]
2. Present spin and half-truths. – Do I have all the facts straight?
3. Serve up opinions as facts. – Have I scrubbed out all opinion or, at least, clarified my opinions as opinions?
4. Promote yourself, blatantly. – Do I spread the credit enough?
5. Offer ideas and initiatives not in alignment with corporate values and vision. – Is the idea/initiative legal and does it align with the current direction of the company?
6. Disregard corporate culture. – Can the idea/initiative come to fruition in our corporate culture?
7. Overlook resourcing realities. – Have I realistically accounted for the necessary resources, both human and capital?
8. Poor timing. – Is the company ready to undertake the idea/initiative or do other issues need to be addressed first?
9. Lack of impact awareness across the enterprise. – Is the idea/initiative going to have a positive/negative impact on the company and, if so, what is it?
10. Propose all strategy and no tactics and vice-versa. – Recognizing adjustments may need to be made during implementation, what are the steps that need to happen in order to deliver the strategy?
I like your take on this.
I think no. 7 is the most overlooked..perhaps the assumption might be made that the idea is so great…of course! the company will provide more capital, human and other? A very dangerous assumption and one that certainly will annoy or tick off the CEO.
Fully agreed. This is a reason why companies should have a mechanism to regularly scrap obsolete services/products and invest the RECOVERED resources into the new. Again, a MECHANISM, not an ad-hoc revolution once in a while.
Your comment is pure gold. You took those basic statements and made them actionable! AWESOME.
I love leaving space in the writing to see what others add. In this case you demonstrated to me that readers really do get it and really do add value.
I’m honored and thankful you participate in the conversation.
LOVE your take on this! Very concrete and helpful!
A good list. My contribution to the list for what ticks senior leaders off is:
seriel complainers/doom sayers
What’s convincing to senior leaders:
when your proposal is authentic and congruent, for the good of many, not just you. (Might not be approved but you won’t lose credibility for it)
This has been my practice for years and I have been successful with it…until recently. The newest CEO informed my supervisor that I was too prepared. How is that possible?? Ugh…
Thank you for the affirmation.
Love your posts!
Dan, I read some where (I wish I could remember who wrote it) that CEO’s are fearful people. It is our job to address those fears. Dr. Snyders 10 tips will address or remove the fears the CEO’s feel while listening to the presentation?
Thank you for taking the time to share them with us.
I think you could shorten the one header to
John Spence’s top 10 tips for presenting…any where, any time, any thing.
Great stuff! Can you imagine going to a conference have the presenter finish in 3 minutes! Making me rethink the presentations I have on tap.
Hi Dan, it’s a great article and I’ve twitted it.
I am just a newbie in my company and recently my boss presented my presentation to our CEO and the feedback is positive. I compared notes to the “top 10 tips to present to CEO” and realized that, without knowing it beforehand, I shot tip 1-4 & 10. However, I recently encountered issues with our HR..long story but I noticed that their way of thinking is quite different from mine. Do you have any suggestion of how HR VP normally think? I’m asking this because it is wrong to jump to a conclusion with my limited experience and I am close to say it.
Some background about myself, I am from Beijing China, working in a Canadian company, so English is not my first language and it has been quite intimidating, say not so confident in expressing myself.
I think anyone who is serious about their job and about being effective and efficient is troubled by people who act this way. I call it the “entrepreneurial spirit”, that desire to succeed which each employee should have. Do we ask ourselves, what would I do if this were my company, my time or my money I was spending?
I think less people would make these 10 “mistakes” if they reflected on them from time to time. These 10 things are all a part of our personal company responsibility. C’mon people grow up!
Great Post Dan!
My Key Takeaway: Think through the issues that are important to senior management and incorporate solutions into the presentation to add clarity and completeness.
Thank you for reminding me of this very important message.