If you are committed to career advancement, you must be willing to take important steps to achieve your professional goals. One critical career development strategy, which many professionals neglect, is building relationships with executives. To reach higher levels of the organization, senior level managers need to know who you are and what you have to offer. If you do not take advantage of opportunities to pursue executive relationships, you are doing yourself and your career a disservice.
If you have not yet begun to build executive relationships, the process can feel intimidating. Common fears include: What will I say? Will I be bothering someone? How will my manager feel? These are perfectly natural, but do not let them stop you! In order to advance your career and achieve your professional goals, you will need to step outside your comfort zone.
Here are some opportunities you may want to consider:
1. Engage executives in meetings. In meetings these days, it is very typical to find professionals paying closer attention to their mobile devices than the presenter. If there are high-level executives in your meeting, this is a wasted opportunity.
Rather than monitor your email or text messages, find ways to engage in the discussion. Make eye contact and visibly express your interest. Contribute your insights, or ask thoughtful questions. If there is an opportunity at the end of the meeting, take a moment to introduce yourself.
2. Use travel opportunities to build deeper executive relationships. If you are traveling with an executive, you often have time to talk in much greater depth about your role, your work activity, and even your personal interests. Take advantage of these powerful career development opportunities!
If you have a group dinner, take a seat near the executive and make an effort to engage him/her in conversation. You might also have opportunities to talk on the flight, or at the airport. Perhaps you can share a cab to the hotel or the office.
3. Schedule an information session. Most executives want to help high potential professionals to be more successful. Schedule 15-30 minute meetings with executives to learn about their career paths and seek their advice on how to achieve your professional goals.
Most professionals fail to recognize these important career development opportunities. They are either not serious about career advancement, or they allow uncertainty and fear to stand in their way. Because so few people make an effort to build executive relationships, particularly early in their careers, your efforts will more than likely differentiate you from others.
When you see an opportunity, take a deep breath and step outside your comfort zone. With each step, you will gain the confidence to take greater and greater risks. And, most importantly, you will achieve greater levels of career success!
Kim Meninger is a certified career coach and founder of Great Heights Coaching. She works with professionals who are feeling stuck, struggling to get ahead, or looking to make a career change. Prior to coaching, Kim had a highly successful corporate career managing strategic business partnerships. She attributes much of her success to her strategic approach to career management. Kim is passionate about helping others achieve similar levels of career success. To learn more about how Great Heights Coaching can help you more quickly and successfully achieve your career goals, visit http://www.GreatHeightsCoaching.com or contact Kim at Kim@GreatHeightsCoaching.com.
By Kim Meninger