Estimated reading time: 2 mins
Getting yourself noticed by senior management or executives maybe easier than you think. These people, like all people, are human beings. I’ve found that if you treat them that way, you have the best chance of getting to know them, and hopefully raising your profile.
The most effective way I have found is to take an interest in their affairs and have an opinion or extra ‘content’ (i.e. information of value) that would help them. An example of this might be to read your organization’s internal newsletter and investigate further an executive’s subject (using Google or whatever) or discuss it with colleagues. I’ve noticed your opinions can be most powerful if a) you have ideas on how your department or role can reduce costs, reduce risks or increase revenue, or b) it is outside of your core business function, demonstrating your understanding of the wider business context (a good corporate citizen thing to do!) If you get the opportunity to, briefly share your thoughts if you bump into them in the office. Or failing that, send them a brief email with a summary of your thoughts and invite them to discuss it further.
This won’t always work, but keep trying. As I said, most executives are human beings so it’s unlikely you will always receive a rebuttal or be ignored. Its about initiating and sustaining a relationship.
So if you do get a foot in the door, perhaps you could then agree to include the executive in any relevant emails that they would find interesting or relevant, and invite them to comment or conversely opt out. As well as the professional stuff, you should feel free to be yourself and talk about other things that might interest you both, such as sports or movies. You could pick up on something you notice in their office, such as a trophy or a magazine, which you share a common interest. The main thing is, offer something to show you’re a human being too. Of course, respect personal boundaries and don’t be too familiar!
Another important point is that the two most powerful people in an organization is the CEO, and then the CEO’s personal assistant. Building a relationship with an executives PA is an effective means of building a strong relationship with the executive! I don’t mean pay them flattery or buy them gifts – I do encourage you to take an interest as a fellow human being.
The upside of showing an interest in an executive’s matters, and having a valuable opinion about it, is that you may just get a invite to discuss other subjects. You may also be the person who is recommended by the executive to be involved in other work or ideas. You could be a trusted member of their team.
You have nothing to lose if you’re brave enough and take an interest. There really is no downside to being courageous enough to take an interest in your organization and its leaders.