3 Steps in Turning the C-Suite into the See-Suite

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Culture, Innovate, Leadership, Motivation, Passion
Tags: , , , ,

photo by: dantada

Ever try and sell an idea “upstairs” and have it go absolutely, positively nowhere?  There you sit with this burning passion and desire, knowing it can make a real difference for your organization only to have the flames extinguished with the wave of a hand, roll of the eyes, stroke of a pen, or strikes on a keyboard.  Before the singed remnants of desire morph into disgust, here are 3 things to consider on the journey of getting the “c” to “see”.  Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

1) Make them look great
A retiring CEO told me at her going away party that the best advice she could leave is to “never make your CEO look good, make them look great…always.”  It is important to remember that it’s not about our great idea or concept — it’s about the leader and their legacy.  In nonprofit organizations, the CEO is accountable to a board of directors, he or she has likely presented a list of deliverables (goals, objectives, plans) — making them look great is delivering on that list, even if it is just one.

2) Only their goals matter
Who really cares if your social media plan can create a click conversion of 40%?  Your idea MUST achieve the goals, objectives, and strategic plan as determined by the CEO.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Site traffic is nice and pretty on a graph, but is totally meaningless unless translated into the CEO’s goals.  The ever elusive ROI is simple: are the CEO’s goals being achieved?  It is all the ROI the CEO needs (or likely wants to hear).

3) Just do it
I know, I know, it sounds very cliche and I do get into trouble sometimes (especially after eyes have rolled).  However (and it’s a big however), I always “do it” keeping #1 and #2 at the absolute forefront of the initiative or project.  It’s easier to apologize than it is to beg — especially if the goals are aligned.  It involves some risk, yet in most cases the only resource I try to consume is my time and energy thereby not compromising the organization.

Have a plan and one that clearly aligns the initiative with the organization’s goals.  Do not over-plan — the wait for perfection will last until eternity, and that’s being conservative.  Over-planners usually launch nothing, delay launches and stay busy critiquing those of us constantly trying.  Some find it easier to point out what’s wrong rather than what’s right or good.

The view from the c-suite can be distorted with constant noise, constant feedback and constant input.  The clear path through the noise is a plan or idea that strikes directly at achieving the CEO’s vision — that is something he or she can and will see.

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing to add,
but rather when there is nothing more to take away.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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