Curious about what you need to do to be perceived as an executive-to-be by the senior leadership team?
Great. You’re in the right place.
In this week’s episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I reveal the secrets the executive team WON’T tell you, but want to see you do if they are going to consider you for an executive leadership position.
These are five specific things you can start doing TODAY. No more guessing and wondering what you’re supposed to do. In this episode, I lay it all out.
This is Part #2 of a three-part series I am doing called C-Suite Secrets.
In C-Suite Secrets, I dedicate each episode to showing you how to speak, act, and think like a c-suite leader so you can step into (and survive) an executive leadership position.
If you listen to this episode and think to yourself “I want to act like a senior executive now”, then my 6-week group coaching program is just the thing for you. I designed Executive Ahead of Time to help corporate leaders like YOU access the skills, confidence and unparalleled support you’ll need to reach a higher level executive position. Learn more at www.executiveaheadoftime.com.
What You'll Learn:
- How to properly ask the leadership team for their secrets to success
- Why you need to let go of all the details related to your role
- Why you need to start proposing solutions – not just problems (and how to do it)
- How to start delegating UP to get the resources you need to perform at a higher level
- The steps you need to take to manage your career
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #44: C-Suite Secrets Part 1: What your CEO Actually Means
- Ep #37: How to Build Trust at Work Using ‘15-Minute Ally’ Meetings
- Register for my executive group coaching program: Executive Ahead of Time.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer. And super excited, as always, to be here with you guys again this week.
I am really thrilled with this new podcast series that I put together for you guys called C-Suite Secrets. And this week's episode is part two of that series. If you didn't get to hear it after you listen to this episode, go back and listen to last week's episode where I lay out for you six different things that your boss or the executives or your CEO might be telling you on the surface and what they actually mean for you to do and how they want you to show up if you want to get promoted into senior executive leadership position.
And let's face it, I said 'if', but we all know that you really want it. You want to get recognized for your work and you want to have a voice at the table. So go back. Listen to that episode. It's really fascinating how often I hear one of my clients or people even who have reached out to me and they'll say something like: 'I hear this feedback over and over and over and over and over again. And I don't know what to do with it.'
On last week's episode, I tell you exactly what they really mean, which then shows you what to do with that feedback. So make sure you check it out.
In this week's episode, I'm going to be telling you all of the secrets about basically what the executive team won't tell you to DO. What you actually need to be doing in your day-to-day, in your 60-hour work week, and how you need to be showing up as an executive now so that you can be perceived by the executive team as an executive, as a person who is ready to get promoted.
So today's episode is all about what you need to do. And then next week's episode... So subscribe to my podcast so that you'll be one of the first to know and you won't forget about it, is what do you need to be thinking. As a c-suite executive, what are those secrets that they do, the mindset that they have, that c-suite mindset that they don't always tell you about? I'm going to tell you all of it so you no longer have to wonder. You no longer have to wish that you could read your boss or the CEO's mind. You will know what they actually mean, what they actually want you to do. So really excited to be getting into all of this with you guys.
Now, today's episode, I'm going to be talking and focusing on what you should really be doing. And in terms of C-Suite Secrets, the reason that these secrets aren't shared is... It's a little bit different than last week. So last week it was about they say one thing, but they really mean something different. In this week's episode, this information, they kind of just never tell you. And you know why they don't tell you. It has nothing to do with them wanting to hide it. It has nothing to do with anything fishy or weird. The only reason they don't tell you what to do is because you don't ask.
And the reason that I know that one is because I know so many of you don't actually ask what you should do, right. But the reason that I know that that is the only reason that they don't tell you these secrets, is because in my 1:1 coaching, I do stakeholder interviews. And I'll get on the phone with the CEO or some of the c-suite executive staff, and I will ask them very directly, what is it going to take to get my client into a senior executive leadership position? And they will tell me. It's like an open book. They just open it up.
In fact, actually, some of this episode was inspired by a conversation I had for my client just last week. And I was interviewing an SVP at her company, and he was hilarious. He just went on this whole leadership tangent and I was like: 'Wow, you really have a lot to share. You have a lot of great leadership wisdom.' And he said: 'You know, I should really write a book and call it Gregisms.' And I was like I totally agreed that he needed to kind of put all of this information together. But then when I went back to my client and I shared this with her, she said that she had never even heard any of these stories. And the only reason is because I had basically opened up the space, created the container for him to share it, and he was more than happy to share all of his leadership wisdom.
So in today's episode, I'm going to be giving you five specific things that I want you to start doing so that you can scale yourself into the C suite. And I also want to give you a homework assignment that is going to be to ask.
So use any one of these as a catalyst to create a conversation with a senior executive leader. Somebody that you don't already have a relationship with, and ask them about what was their secrets to success? What were the keys? What were the things that they had to learn when they were trying to make that transition into senior executive leadership position? Just ask. Just ask. They're not going to be secrets for long. They will be an open book. People love to give advice. People love it.
So that is what I want to tell you right there is, after you listen to these C-Suite Secrets, schedule that appointment. You can also go back and listen to one of my recent episodes that's all about creating 15-Minute Ally Meetings. And when you go back to that episode and listen to it, that's going to tell you how to actually schedule one of these 15 minute conversation. So if that idea of reaching out and asking just makes you go all crazy, go and listen to that episode and it'll lay it all out. And I'll link to it in the show notes as well so that you don't forget.
So the five things that we're going to be talking about today that you need to do if you want to scale yourself into an executive leadership position is:.
- Understand that you could no longer be in charge of all the details of your role.
- The second thing that you're going to start to learn to do is to paint the vision. And don't worry, I'm going to break all of these down and tell you what they mean.
- The third thing is, is that you need to propose solutions, not just problems, but also start proposing solutions.
- I'm going to show you that you you need to delegate, which is this is probably obvious, but the c-suite secret is that you need to delegate up. You need to manage up. You need to ask for resources. You need to ask for what you want. So I'll show you how to do that.
- And then the fifth thing is that you need to take time to manage your career.
So in today's episode, I'm going to give you five things that I commonly hear c-suite executives say that my clients would need to start doing more of if they wanted to make it into that executive level leadership position. And these are also things that I coach my clients to do that results in a promotion.
So these five things that I'm sharing with you today, they work. This is it. This is making the intangible process of getting promoted into a senior executive position tangible. You no longer have to wonder what you're supposed to do. I'm giving it all to you today. So let's get started.
The first one is actually understanding that you can no longer command all of the details in your role. I talk about the concept a lot that you need to stop doing what you're good at. And coincidentally, as you probably heard in some of my previous episodes, I'm actually working right now putting together a six week coaching program.
So let me digress for a minute and tell you a little bit about that. But it's called Executive Ahead of Time, and it gives you all of the tools that you need to know in order to become the Executive Ahead of Time, which makes you not only a shoo-in for your next promotion, but it also gives you the tools to succeed once you actually receive that promotion. So stick around till the end of this episode. I'm going to give you all the registration details. Our next cohort starts in November. It's an absolutely action packed, really incredible program. So you're going to want to make sure that you're a part of it. I would love, love, love to have you there. But the first module... and so as you're listening to this, if this resonates with you, you're like: 'Oh, my gosh, this is so true.' The first module of that program is getting yourself out of the weeds. So you have to find a way to no longer be fixated on knowing and understanding all of the details. Now, I have clients that are already at the vice president or SVP level and still have this challenge. And you know what they look like. They look very tired. They're exhausted.
And not only are they exhausted because they're trying to manage all of the details and really understand on a very deep level all of the technical aspects of their role, the leadership team starts to lose trust in them. So they may have a seat at the table sometimes, sometimes not, but they often don't have an actual voice at the table. It's because of two things. One is they can't think strategically because they're so far in the weeds all the time. And then, two, it's because they don't appear as the senior executive leader, because they're so far in the weeds all the time.
So that's going to be the first module of my course that's coming up. And I'm going to show you how to get yourself out of the weeds, why it's such a huge problem, and basically what to do instead. What are you going to do with your time and make sure that you're actually being focused on the right things that are going to get you promoted into that senior executive position.
So in terms of C-Suite Secrets and today's episode, I really just want you to understand that you can't scale all of the details. And I often will challenge my clients as they're looking for growth opportunities. Let's say they're moving into a director level or a senior director level role at their organization. I often challenge them to move into other parts of the organization, which forces them to rely on their leadership qualities and forces them to understand those skills that they have and that they have developed over time that make them a brilliant leader and not just a brilliant subject matter expert. Because the work hard and get rewarded mentality is long gone. It only works up until about the middle management level. After that, you have to, have to, have to, learn how to think more strategically, more visionary, how to inspire action, and how to let go of commanding each and every one of the details. That was number one.
Now, number two is understanding how to paint the vision. So you heard me talk about this last week a little bit when you receive the feedback about speaking up. And I'm going to repeat it here because I think that it's worth repeating. If you find yourself speaking up at executive meetings, leadership team meetings, but you feel like you still don't really have a voice at the table, it's just that you're talking, you're trying to speak up, you're trying to interject, one of the challenges is that what you're saying is actually not interesting. It's not relevant to the other people in the room. And so when I'm talking about learning how to paint a vision, is ask any CEO, they will tell you: basically learn how to manage up, which is often: get get to the point, and the second piece is what do you need for me? That is what they want to hear. Get to the point and what do you need for me? And then I add in a little like third piece of special sauce, which is what does it matter to the organization? What does it matter to the long term vision of the company? And this can happen in a short, sweet one sentence. I'm not talking about drawing it out long and long, long. But what does it matter? And often, if you're not sure, just listen to what they're talking about in the meeting itself. That will tell you what matters. Who are the people who actually have a voice at the table? What do they talk about? Because if you really feel like they have influence at their company and they're talking about the same things over and over again, that's the stuff that matters. So figure out what matters to the organization, get to the point and then say what you need from them. Like, what are the next steps? Don't get into all the details. You don't have to defend yourself. You don't have to defend your point of view. They trust that if you're in an executive role, that you deserve to be there. But you need to know that you have to paint the vision. That is your job. That is the thing that you need to do if you want to scale yourself to the C suite.
The third C suite secret is that you need to propose solutions and not just problems. At some point, this shifts for you. So you can be really early on in management and you say a lot of times, you'll just like notice things, but you don't have a ton of influence at your organization, so you kind of just point out a lot of problems. You just say what you're noticing that's wrong, or you point out obstacles, like: 'Oh, this isn't going to work because blah, blah, blah.'.
But when you get into those executive positions, you have to understand how to propose solutions. So even if you don't have all the details, even if you don't have all the answers, you can still point to the vision. This is the ideal scenario. If everything went well, this is what I want the outcome to be.
So these are the type of things that you need to be sharing and doing whenever you're talking about problems. You want to always, always, always have a solution to that problem. And I would say that you talk a lot less about problems. Just go solve the problems with your team and just talk about the solutions. If you're ever in front of the CEO, in front of other executives, just talk about the solutions. This is something you can do now. Like I said, that there's the shift that happens. But it's so important that when you start to get into those director, senior director level roles, that you make that shift for yourself. You have to do that. Because otherwise you come off as a complainer, which is not great.
But ultimately, they need to see you as that visionary leader, they need to trust that you see solutions to problems. And one last tip to this, because I know that where our minds go is that sometimes you don't actually have the solution, you can only see the problem and you haven't gotten there yet.
The way to break out of that is that you know something, I guarantee you know something. You know one teeny tiny solution. You may not know the big solution, what's going to solve all the problems. But I want you to ask yourself this question: What do you know? What do you actually know that you could present as a solution instead? So that sort of gives you the idea of how you can kind of do this on a regular basis and really on the fly when you haven't had enough time to really think through the perfect answer.
The fourth c-suite secret, what you need to be doing, is you need to be delegating. Now this kind of ties in to getting yourself out of the weeds. But I want you to think about delegation a little bit different. Delegation in terms of what is going to get you seen by the executive leadership team as a person who can take on a larger executive level role, is a different level of delegation. It is a understanding of clumps of information or projects, right? It's an understanding of...this is basically an overall view of everything that we're working on and so like really understanding those sections and how you're going to hand that off. Delegation in this sense is knowing who my successor is. So often people don't get promoted simply because they're irreplaceable, that there's nobody left who could do their job. I mean, this is a real problem. I had a client who, literally her boss was like: 'we can't promote her because there's nobody left to do her job.' So the first thing that we did in coaching is we figured out who was going to do her job. And then, would you know i? She got promoted. That was it.
So part of this delegation is understanding the process, your process as a leader. It is important that you set those people up for success. You set your team up to be self directed, to work without you. That is, you start to make yourself replaceable. That is how you get promoted into senior executive leadership.
And then the third piece of delegation is that you're going to make sure you delegate up. You ask for resources. You manage up. You go out and you can even say to your boss: 'look, I'm going to let you run with it.' Can you imagine? Can you imagine that? That probably just sounds like: 'what? I'm going to give my boss work.'.
Yes. You're going to give your boss work from a strategic point of view, if you start to do that, then it's going to show your boss that you have an understanding of the structure. You know how to ask for resources. That is a huge quality of a senior executive leader. That is what senior executive leaders do well.
And the fifth thing I want to talk about today is c-suite secret number five: you take time to manage your career. C-suite executives all have coaches. C-suite executives all have mentors. C-suite executives know who their sponsors are. C-suite executives build up their network. They have opportunities on the table. They know what their goals are in their career at any given time. They're purposeful and intentional about their career.
Now, one of the misconceptions... So I do these stakeholder interviews that I told you about, and some people are very nervous about it in the beginning because they're like: 'Oh, my boss doesn't know that I have a coach.' Because they hire me on their own. And the reason that they're nervous is because there's this idea in their head, this perception of coaching as if it's to fix something that's broken. But my clients are not broken. My clients understand that there's a better way of being. They want to bring their best self to work. They want their work to actually matter in the way that they can do that is to get an outside perspective. So that is the first thing that you have to realize when you are getting support and really understanding how to manage your career. is that simply telling your boss or having a conversation with your boss about having a coach or having a mentor or a conversation that you had about leadership, shows them that you actually care about leadership. That you're in this for the long haul. That you're purposeful. That you're making intentional choices about your career, which shows them that you are capable of becoming a senior executive leader.
So that's it. If you do, even just pick one of these five things and start taking action on it, you will notice a shift. You will notice a shift in your confidence. You will notice a shift in how you're being perceived at work. You will notice a shift in behaviors and the way people do things and move around you. Things will start to change because you will start to become the Executive Ahead of Time.
So those are my secrets. Let me let me repeat them.
The C-Suite Secret #1: you can no longer command attention of every single detail at a senior executive level.
C-Suite Secret #2: You need to understand how to paint the vision. You need to know what they need to hear from you.
C-Suite Secret #3: Propose solutions, not just problems.
C-Suite Secret #4: Make sure that you're delegating, you have a successor, and ask for what you want and need.
And C-Suite Secret #5: Take the time to manage your career.
Those are the secrets. It's no longer a secret. You guys are in the in club now. You know what you need to do. So like I said at the beginning schedule that fifteen minute conversation with somebody who you respect their leadership, you respect their wisdom, you respect their guidance, pick any one of these or choose your own and ask them to go a little bit deeper on the subject. It's going to make such a huge difference.
If it does make a huge difference and you want to share with us, I would absolutely love to hear from you. You can shoot me a direct message. My preferred social media direct messaging system is LinkedIn. So go to LinkedIn. I'm Stacy Mayer on LinkedIn. And look me up. Send me a direct message. I would absolutely love to hear from you. Or you could even write a review of this podcast. That would be phenomenal. Not just for me, but it helps so many people find this podcast and utilize this free resource so that they can get promoted as well into senior executive leadership positions. Because let's face it, we need more diversity at the leadership table and we need your voice, because your voice matters.
So I cannot wait to see you there. Don't forget to listen to next week's episode where I'm going to be giving you the third installment of the series, which is all about what you need to think. So C-Suite Secrets and what you should be thinking that's going to get you into that C suite mindset so that you can advance your career to the next level of leadership.
Thank you so much, and have a wonderful week.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.