4 Must-Do’s to Step Up, Stand Out and Get Noticed by the C-Suite
The corporate graveyard is littered with the bodies of hard working well-intentioned executives who couldn’t articulate their value to the company, play well in the sandbox or deliver on their word.
You may have heard that hard work leads to success.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in the corporate arena. In fact, obtaining recognition for your work, hard or not, has a much larger impact on your chances of getting and keeping a senior management post. You need to stand out as a high achiever.
To shine at the top of the management pyramid, you must establish a reputation for getting results that matter. You need to be respected, by those above and beside you.
There are stories abound of talented professionals who hit the glass ceiling simply because they did a poor job of communicating their achievements. You won’t be seen as results-oriented if the only person who knows about your impressive accomplishments is you.
Master these four strategies if you are serious about getting a key to the C-Suite – they are not optional.
Communicate your value to the company
Sure, your boss may know you’re doing a fine job, but does she really know how fine a job?
It’s your responsibility to keep her updated on what you’re doing and what that’s doing for the company. Keep her posted on the status of projects you’re working on, but focus on the benefits to the company.
Instead of telling her you’ve put in 60 hours and networked with 25 potential clients – calculate the potential value of the business you’ll bring in if you close all those deals. That’s all she really cares about.
To get and stay on the path to the C-suite, make sure you’re tracking your successes and understand how those successes benefit the company in meaningful and measurable ways.
You need to convey that information to your manager on a regular basis through weekly status meetings, monthly project summaries, and quarterly briefings. Making sure you have news of recent achievements when you chat with your boss will help you develop a reputation for delivering on your promises.
When clients and supervisors send you emails or letters praising your performance, forward those on to your boss, so he can hear first-hand from outsiders about your talents.
Also, keep a record of your successes throughout the year and bring the list with you to your performance appraisal.
You need to report on the number of projects you completed, such as winning advertising campaigns you launched; and the amount of business you are personally responsible for bringing in is another key metric to report.
If you helped reduce cost, or waste, or improved efficiency by a particular percentage in an area of the business, you’ll want to convey that to your boss as well. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible to drive home your value.
On a daily basis, take every opportunity to offer your ideas, suggestions, and helpful opinions.
Doing so demonstrates what you know and shows you have an interest in the success of your company. In meetings, don’t just sit back and text under the conference table. You are not fooling anyone.
Listen, comment, and offer recommendations when appropriate. For example, if you’ve been following the release of a new technology and have an opinion about which direction your company should go based on that information, don’t keep it to yourself.
Contribute what you know and others will take notice.
Exceed the performance standard
Another way to garner the attention of your superiors is to exceed their expectations.
Under promise and over deliver whenever possible, by finishing a project early, obtaining better results than anticipated, or coming in under budget.
At a minimum, do what you say you’ll do. You’ll stand out by living up to your commitments.
If you say you’ll provide a report summarizing your department’s progress in maximizing customer retention by the end of the month, make sure your boss has it this month, not next.
Doing what you promise builds trust with your boss and showcases your dependability.
Share the Love
Making sure you earn a reputation for getting results does not mean you shouldn’t share the credit for a job well done with others. In fact, shining a spotlight on a colleague’s good work positions you as a leader and increases the likelihood that your comrade will sing your praises, too.
Being willing to share the spotlight is evidence of leadership potential. You need to allow others to shine rather than demanding all the attention for yourself.
Don’t hog the spotlight.
Step Up to Stand Out
When it comes to getting promoted, the truth is that senior management often slots their preferred candidate long before an opening is announced.
Ninety-six percent of senior execs surveyed by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business reported promoting the candidate who had been pre-selected for the position. Fifty-six percent said that even when several candidates were being considered, they already knew who they wanted to promote.
Your challenge is moving yourself into one of those slots before they open up.
To do that, you’ll need to get some face time with management.
Offer to fill in for your manager at meetings or presentations, get to know them outside the office through charity work or social situations. Volunteer for opportunities that will put you in front of people who will make future hiring decisions, and then wow them.
By the way, wowing them is also not optional.
How do you step up and stand out and get noticed by the C-Suite?
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