With so much of the corporate world swirling right now in a churn of reorgs, layoffs, incoming leaders and inexperienced managers, it can be incredibly exhausting having to build and rebuild your credibility and reputation with company leaders.

Working the last 15 years with Fortune 100 leaders (including eight years in HR at a Fortune 100 company as the lead branding strategist for VPs, leaders and high performers) has given me expertise and insight into why so many professionals are able to move up the corporate career ladder with promotions and opportunities while others stay stuck.

Whether you’re an individual contributor, manager or leader—I see that the ability to build a strong leadership reputation and executive presence with company leaders can significantly expand or limit your career growth, especially in changing environments.

If you’re striving for more control, recognition or growth opportunities in your corporate career, here’s my three-step framework to power up your executive presence:

      1. Focus on results.
        Two common complaints among Fortune 100 executives are that presenters tend to lack an executive presence and that they tend to ramble and give too much information. To conquer both, focus on results: those results you’ve already achieved and those you’re in the process of achieving. If you don’t already have one, create a single-slide scorecard that quickly captures your biggest projects with current and projected results. More specifically, include quantifiable results in terms of dollars, numbers and percentages. Add trend lines for context showing the history and future predictions. Use green, yellow and red symbols to show the current status of each project and any big issues.Share your updated one-slide scorecard at the beginning of every presentation and be prepared for follow-up questions with more detailed content available. Every presentation. Every update. Every conversation with your manager, your manager’s boss and executives. This way, you’re speaking with company leaders in their language: the results and value of the work you’re delivering to the organization.

        2. Cultivate a strong, positive relationship with your manager’s boss.
        Ask if you can schedule a 30-minute one-on-one with your manager’s boss to align on expectations and get some advice. If you’re unsure what to talk about, try using this formula I give to my clients:

        a)  Share one big roadblock that you’ve faced and already solved Then ask, “What do you think about that?” This way, you’re showcasing the level of problems you’re solving and your decision-making capabilities, as well as learning how that company leader thinks and solves problems.

        b) Show your scorecard, and talk about your highest priorities.  Your two biggest currencies are the time you’re spending and the results you’re working to achieve with each initiative. For example, you could say that you’re spending 40% of your time on project A, which is projected to add $1 million in revenue; 30% on project B to deliver a new service to customers; and 30% on project C to potentially save the department $200,000. Then ask, “Do you think I should make any adjustments to my priorities?” This allows a deep discussion on priorities, alignment and expectations. (You should also be having these discussions with your manager.)

        c) Ask for support. If you’d like any additional resources, training or shifts in the work you’re doing, ask for them. Or if you’re working toward a promotion you could say, “I’m really working hard for a promotion. What can I do to exceed your expectations?” This is a meeting for you to connect and learn. Be concise. Never complain. Ask smart questions. At the end of each meeting, ask if you could schedule a follow-up one-on-one in about six weeks to continue the conversation. This is a powerful way to build a strong connection and alignment with a key career influencer, and it could potentially set you up as the department’s next promotion.

        3. Build your executive presence with other company influencers.  Which leaders, customers and company influencers could praise your work to others, promote you or influence others to promote you? Make a list and ask yourself, “How strong is this relationship? How well does this person really understand the work I’m doing and the value I’m bringing to the organization? Are there any best practices, tools or new strategies I could share that could potentially help their project or team?”

        One strategy I used earlier in my own career as an IT project manager to build my visibility and executive presence was emailing bi-weekly project updates to my manager, my manager’s boss and my list of company influencers. I included my scorecard, goals with target dates and current results, as well as one to two big challenges I had already solved and one to two challenges I was in the process of solving. I was demonstrating the level of results and the level of problems that I was driving. One of my updates was forwarded up the leadership chain, and the CIO invited me to speak at his staff meeting.

        After you’ve had a big win, you’ll find that many leaders would love the opportunity to pick your brain and see what they can learn from you. Be proactive and send a note offering to give a quick 10-minute presentation on “three lessons learned on project X” or “three relationship-building techniques we used to sign a $10 million customer.” These should be deep insights that could potentially teach a leader or team something new. Many of my clients have used this approach to elevate their reputation with company leaders and have seen great results that helped them quickly climb the career ladder.

I’ve successfully reinvented my own career four times, and I fully believe that life is way too short to stay stuck in a role you’ve outgrown or in a job where you feel unappreciated and undervalued. It’s your career, so own it. Learning how to strengthen and role model your executive presence can help you rise above your peers for more opportunities, faster promotions and a bigger, more meaningful career.

If you’re facing a career challenge and would like PERSONALIZED strategies with IMMEDIATE steps to help you raise your career inside a company, or re-build your career, or switch career tracks – then check out my personal coaching packages at: Leadership Coaching (yourleadershiplab.com)

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Your Leadership Lab is a division of Career Coaching 360, LLC

Your Leadership Lab is a division of Career Coaching 360, LLC