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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
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"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."
-- Frank Lloyd Wright
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THE TOP 10 SUCCESS FACTORS TO OBTAINING A SEAT AT THE EXECUTIVE TABLE
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You are outperforming even the most optimistic forecasts. Your contribution is essential to the success of the organization. You are friends with the right people and have not made any political mistakes.  All this and yet you cannot seem to get that seat at the Executive Table.  We're not talking about title here, but effective influence with the CEO, Vice President, or Chief Operating Officer.

The downsizing of your organization and the narrowing of the pyramid at the top may be part of the challenge in front of you. You may be in a staff function and have no line experience or vice versa.  There will always be reasons to keep you out of the exclusive executive club.  Take control and create reasons to be invited!

1.     Attitude is everything.
While no one can ever be truly indispensable, be the person who can always provide prompt, impartial information for any purpose. Synthesize large volumes of information into a concise summary. Offer your analysis or evaluation, if asked.  Initiate your executives into the knowledge that you are also a source of good judgment, by asking when you deliver the facts, "Do you have time to look at my analysis?"  Show a hardy optimism. 

2.     Be an employee champion.
Keep the hiring pipeline filled with talented prospects.  Provide the best tools and training available.  Set ambitious goals and reward those who attain them.  Ask for employee feedback and act on the information you receive.

3.     Build a winning team.
Surround yourself with people of varying backgrounds and skills. Build consensus and negotiate to mutual satisfaction.  Show the team how collaboration enhances everyone's position, individually and as a team, by building successes from the contributions of all.

4.     Be consistent with your values.
Identify what you would prefer not to do because of your beliefs. Know what things you would refuse to do, even if they are the only option.

5.     Take charge of your career.
In the Saturday morning cartoons, smart mice always had two mouse holes to escape to when the cat was in the chase. You need options, too.

6.     Be a change agent.
Do not believe that everything is fine the way it is.  Innovative risk takers consider new ways of achieving results.  Know what needs to be done and how to do it with political savvy.

7.     Choose your priorities.
"If I am not for me, who will be?"  Balance competing priorities with your own welfare garnering primary importance.

8.     Know your geographical limitations.
Consider the costs and benefits of vying for positions in undesirable locations.  Another firm may provide an equivalent opportunity in a place you like at a fraction of the personal cost.

9.     Think outside the proverbial box.
Always question if there is a better way to do something.  So what if a solution or process has worked a thousand times before?

10.    Push beyond your limits.
Don't get pigeonholed into a functional specialty.  Seek assignments outside your recognized expertise.  Understand and embrace technology.

By Sheri E. Ross, JD, MBA, Executive and Business Coach who can be reached at Sheri.Ross@UCLAlumni.net.
Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002 by Thomas J. Leonard
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COACHING CALL TO ACTION
THE TOP 10 SUCCESS FACTORS TO OBTAINING A SEAT AT THE EXECUTIVE TABLE
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Is this your year to join the Executive Club?
Ask yourself:

1.     Do I believe I have what it takes?

2.     Do I want it?

3.     Why? 

If you are ready, choose a step from the top ten list and try it on for size.  Will you commit to it and make it happen?

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February 21, 2003
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