Standing up to the Executive Heat
A technically talented senior executive was perceived as not providing the leadership necessary for his department, as well as not adding sufficient strategic value as a member of the executive staff. Although recognized as smart and productive, having achieved a great deal in his past performance, he was being cast as not having the strength to stand up to aggressive executives – he was being dismissed and getting rolled over in meetings.
Before working with Steven Feinberg, his attempted solutions included: :The senior executive had worked with an executive coach who agreed with him that the other executives were too aggressive, and focused on making him feel right that he was unjustly being cast as ineffective. This didn’t change anything. During executive staff meetings, this executive continued to be very quiet, waiting for the appropriate time to speak and searching for the right thing to say without offending anyone. By the time he found an opening in the conversation, he was in a defensive mode and his comments were often experienced as too little, too late.
Brains like winners. The first battle takes place in the mind before any encounter. Advantage-Makers are able to handle social rejection effectively.
After assessing the executive’s approach and failed attempts to influence, we collaboratively designed an innovative program for him to learn to acquire ‘executive street fighting skills’. In one-on-one meetings, we practiced skill building and role played many difficult encounters of how to shoot from the hip accurately. Brains like speed, instead of slow and steady, he became quick and assertive…all with some brain insights on how to process faster easier.
The transformation from observer to initiator was unmistakable; aggressive executives would now back off, where before they had backed him into a corner.
We worked on him acquiring the Advantage-Maker’s brains ability to establish command presence, not ordering people, but a matter of fact confidence that conveys you have command over the issues. While still retaining his values, he looked forward to the encounters where before he only had disapproval of their aggressive behaviors. His ideas were now well received and he provided sound business judgment.
He communicated to the other brains in the meetings that he was a force to be respected and here to lead, and not follow quietly.
Instead of focusing on feeling right, I provided him with the right course of action.