I recently spoke with one of my executive clients, a Fortune 50 leader named Jennifer. Over the past several years, she’d been promoted at an impressive pace. Her most recent promotion gave her a powerful seat as a member of the executive management team.
During our advisory work, Jennifer and I had many strategic conversations to help her thrive amid each new opportunity. Now in her most senior role to date, she needed to quickly:
- Develop a rock solid strategy for outpacing the competition.
- Address the steep rise in regulatory scrutiny and pricing pressure.
- Craft and convey a deeply compelling vision.
- Enlist internal support to mitigate organizational inertia and neutralize political drag.
- Implement a new structure for the team: get the right people in the right roles, doing the right things at the right times.
- Remain calm, cool and poised as the pressure intensified and others sometimes behaved badly.
As Jennifer reflected on what she had been able to achieve, she was openly appreciative of my partnership: as business expert, objective observer, and strategic confidant, a trusted advisor who listens with an open mind, asks provocative questions, challenges conventional thinking and quick decisions, provides expert advice, and is always there for her.
Here’s the bottom line:
To be a great leader, you can’t go it alone. You’ve simply got to surround yourself with smart people who will pressure-test your decisions, provide divergent points of view, and support you on the tough calls (read here: The Five Advisors Every Leader Needs).
Every leader needs a strategic confidant in his or her corner.
Who do you have on speed dial for real-time issues?
I had a wonderful experience working with Liz. Within the first couple of meetings she uncovered several blind spots in how I communicate in a corporate environment. Liz helped me adjust my communication style to match the way I’ve always intended to communicate – I couldn’t have gotten there on my own.
– Mark Spykerman, VP Premier Source at Lash Group an AmerisourceBergen company
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