1. Trust Your Instincts
2. Listen to Colleagues
3. Share Valuable Advice
If you have a C in front of your name, your first priority is to own your zones of expertise. Or as I like to say, “Own your WOW!” If you don’t, how can you expect others to take you seriously or feel comfortable with your seat at the table? You made it to this spot because others decided you can contribute to positioning the company for success. Your position will constantly be challenged if your inner narrative ever doubts your own zones of influence and experience.
Trust Your Instincts
Your talents and know-how helped you reach your current position, so trust your knowledge and areas of differentiation. As with most things in life, timing is also important. If you are newer to the table, be sure to do a lot of observing. Study your peers’ communication styles. This will help you adjust how you share your expertise with them. This means using words and examples that will hit home with each and every one of them. Playing at the C-level is a constant balance of respect among equals, using strategy grown from your areas of expertise and sharing vital information with your colleagues.
Listen to Colleagues
When you sense one colleague or another is not hearing you or could become suspicious of your advice, try not to put up walls. Listen to what they are saying and seek to understand. When you can take added data points under consideration and not immediately filter them through your own world view, you will win fans. This doesn’t mean throw out your values and beliefs. The best executives are usually powerful communicators. True performance, rather than numbers without meaning, is what you want associated with your name.
Share Valuable Advice
Offer your valuable advice with an open mind and heart to the possibility that it may be challenged. However, offer your perspective to showcase your abilities and willingness to benefit the group and organization. The last thing you want is a reputation for never speaking up. Real world credibility can only grow through your desire and ability to share. Your advice is a valuable gift put forth for the overall good. When you share and it leads to successful outcomes, you know how that feels. Use the WOW! List day in and day out until it becomes your style of delivery.