Shine bright, get noticed.
Let's face it, we all want to be recognized for our accomplishments. We want the big person on campus who still notices the little things. However, in reality, the little accomplishments go unnoticed for the most part. It's the big accomplishments that receive attention from the CEO.
If you want to get on the CEO's radar, it takes a little more than doing a good job. They simply don't have the time to notice the small things. CEOs are some of the busiest people in any company structure. Meetings with the Board of Directors and wining and dining bigwigs, not to mention tons of paperwork and reports to review every day.
On the other hand, CEOs often say building relationships with their subordinates is more important than impressing those major clients. Without a doubt, your CEO wants you to be a huge success, as the company can only benefit from your greatness. Here are five steps get you on the CEO's radar:
Show confidence, not arrogance.
No one will notice you if you hide in the shadows and never show initiative. Step out of the closet and start mingling a bit with your colleagues. Show you know what you are doing and not afraid to take chances. Introduce yourself to other departments and ask if you can join their meetings and discussions from time to time. This shows interest in the company as a whole. Team members will start talking to their supervisors about you, and soon the entire building starts buzzing.
Don't be arrogant though. No one likes a know-it-all. Confidence is key; arrogance is fatal. Try not to answer every question, but, instead, ask questions to learn more about the topic. Once you feel confident you have something to contribute, ask if you can offer suggestions. Discuss your ideas with the group and ask for their feedback. Collaboration goes a long way in reducing tension and prevents you from coming off as arrogant.
Show them you care.
Companies don't want team members on auto-pilot who come to work, do their job and wait for the paycheck. They want people who honestly care about the business. Make an effort to understand the big picture and how every decision impacts the company. How do you show caring for a company without coming across as insincere? Easy answer, you have to be sincere. If you don't care about the company, do not try to fake it and consider looking for a new job at a company you believe in.
Take ownership of all projects and assignments, even mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Most CEOs will tell you it's not what you did but how you react to the mistake that matters. They want to see how you think on your feet.
Actions speak louder than words. Treat the company's success as you would your own accomplishments. Don't think in terms of promotion or self-advancement. Tie the company's needs to your own.
Do more than “think outside of the box.”
Companies look for candidates who bring innovation and creativity to the conference room. And, yes, while most CEOs want team members who think outside the box, it's going to take a lot more to get them to notice you. Most executive leaders are impressed with those who are continuously looking for ways to improve processes and solve problems. CEOs want team members who make the business better. Be that person!
Do you notice a daily task or procedure that slows work, efficiency and effectiveness? Don't just complain about it in the breakroom, look for ways to improve or replace the task. If clients complain about the current communication wait time, work on developing a way to speed up the communication process. It may be as simple as creating a few scrips or canned messages.
Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.
If you don't, prepare for a long career of mundane tasks and few promotions. Top business strategists know that running a company takes grit. There are risks involved in every decision they make and they're not afraid to get the job done and take chances. Show the Big Boss you mean business. Take initiative, and take chances. Just be careful and speak with your direct manager before making decisions that could impact the company on a larger scale.
CEOs often learn early on that you have to gain a ton of experience before moving to the top. With this realization, they may have volunteered for the menial, tough jobs when they were starting out. Don't be afraid to follow suit. Look for opportunities to get your hands dirty. Whether it's a difficult client no one wants or auditing the night shift's records for the last two years, be the first to raise your hand and volunteer for these tasks. Your colleagues may think you're a little off in the head, but the CEO will see a star pupil.
Lend a helping hand.
Selfishness is the weakest link. Always remember, there is no “I” in team. Real leadership is about more than doing great work yourself. Leadership is about the success of the entire team. Support others in reaching their potential. Mentoring the new employee, assisting a colleague with a large box of files or simply stepping in when someone is sick goes a long way in showing the CEO you are management material.
Just don't go overboard. We don't want to make others feel incapable of succeeding. There's a difference between helping and doing the work for them. This is the key mistake most micromanagers make. They assume they must do the work for it to be right. Let team members perform their own tasks. Don't hover in the background. Instead, let them know you are there if the need any assistance.
Getting noticed by the right people is difficult. Competition continues even after you are hired. Colleagues with more experience and skills jockey for higher pay and higher positions, while some team members are comfortable staying put. Try not to get caught up in the competitive nature or step on any toes. Sabotaging other team members heading up the ladder is a big no-no. This is a friendly game with rules and respect. In the end, it's not your effort to get notice that counts, it's your ethics and how you benefit the company that draws attention.
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Photo Credit: Christer van der Meeren/Flickr