February 19th, 2009 09:27 EST
Attach Yourself to Your Company Like Velcro
O` Brilliant One, we are living in one of the greatest moments in the history of our world. Yes, there is a reordering of our global financial systems. Yes, there is a redefining of the language of business and yes there is a reigniting of belief in the future.
In the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Annual Global CEO survey which represents executives in 50 countries, it was discovered that the speed and intensity of the recession have rocked the psyche of CEO`s and created a global crisis of confidence. Only 15% of the business leaders in North America and Western Europe expressed confidence about the coming year, but even in emerging economies optimism was weak.
Of course you are wondering, where is the silver lining? Well, as fate would have it, I was in the Delta Crown Room in Atlanta and just happened to pick up a copy Pink Magazine (one of the most progressive magazines for executive women) and there was an advertisement for CBO " Chief Breakthrough Officer, which is an executive course being offered at Stanford Graduate School of Business (www.stanfordwomenleaders.com ).
In fact, CBO is one of the new fancy titles populating the C " suites of forward-thinking companies around the world. Some of the other up-and-coming "C-level` positions emerging are Chief Risk Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Chief Diversity Officer.
Here`s the 411 on CBO and what it means to you. Some companies and organizations are in need of men and women who have cross-functional skills in leadership, strategy, financial literacy, marketing and sales abilities, strategic relationships, negotiation skills, technology and operational knowledge. In Australia and New Zealand, the individuals that master this mindset are often called Chief Innovation Officer. They can schmooze key stakeholders at 30,000 feet and possess the know-how to execute at 500 feet.
I am sure some of you by now are rolling your eyes and wondering what this has to do with you. Well, I believe what will enable your company or organization to sustain brilliance in the midst of change is a new title that I created for you called CBE (Chief Breakthrough Employee). Here are a few tips for you to Velcro yourself to your current job and/or position yourself for the next opportunity.
Obtain a copy of your company`s annual report and discover what drives the organization. Learn the language that is used to describe how different lines of business are doing. Cultivate a friendship with someone in the finance department to decipher all of the business speak. If your company is privately held, then ask your manager to set-up a mentoring visit for you and another leader. Be prepared to ask them insightful questions to get a better view as to how you can make a difference.
Be curious about everything. Once a week go to lunch with different people in different departments. Make sure that they represent cross functional areas in your company " IT, marketing and sales, technology, operations, and finance to name a few. Host your own chew and chat " or lunch and learn. " Buy them a Happy Meal or pay for their meal in the employee cafeteria. For a 45 minute lunch period, you should have three questions to prime the conversation pump. One question is personally-related " this creates commonality and breaks down the barrier of why you asked him/her to lunch.
The second question is business-related " this creates connection inside the company. The third question is future-related; this creates an opportunity to support his/her aspirations.
Before lunch is over, find out that person`s preferred method of communication and then send an e-mail, voicemail, or handwritten note to say thank you. For those of you who are iPhone users, you can sign up for a free App called Sly dial that connects you directly to someone`s mobile voicemail.
Raise your hand to volunteer on a project team that is tackling an issue that impacts your department, division, or organization as a whole.
Invest in yourself by subscribing to www.getabstract.com which is the iTunes of business books. It has over 5,000 business book summaries. It will give you the cliff note version in five pages of major books on branding, creativity, innovation, and customer loyalty to name a few. This will be the start of your mini-MBA. If you like what you read then invest in the entire book.
Create a list of best practices, short cuts, insights, workarounds that have saved time and money in your current position. Then turn around and ask your fellow colleagues. I am sure that they will give 1 or 2 other brilliant carats " wink wink... that you can use.
After every breakup there is a breakdown and after every breakdown there is a breakthrough. I submit to you O` Brilliant One that you are the breakthrough that your company and organization has been waiting for. It`s your time to fire yourself from holding on by a thread and rehire yourself as a Chief Breakthrough Employee who will velcro themselves to the organization.
Simon`s Side bar
My dear friends Edie Fraser and Robyn Spizman have written a book called Do your Giving While You Are Living " This is a fascinating read that will inspire you to do what you can do today in order to make a difference tomorrow.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is the following The giving spirit is enhanced when you have a connection with those to whom you are giving. Find a way to meet the recipients of your caring. Look them compassionately in the eye, ask their names and find out what makes them tick. Your giving will be inspired when you connect with a cause greater than yourself. "