Hail to the Chief!

Written on Saturday, November 20th, 2010 at 9:23 pm by Adaire
Filed under Financial Freedom.

The North American Indians defined the word best when they called their most-respected, most-venerated leader “chief”.  The tribe chief is the head that holds the political and economic power of the group.  He has the executive, legislative & judicial mandate of his people, all to ascertain that their common goals and beliefs are upheld.  Today, chief refers to a person accorded highest rank or office, and wields the greatest influence and importance to the organization.  :)

C-Suite – Person or Place?

In corporate parlance, that person or group of persons is collectively referred to as the “C-Suite”.  It’s a widely-used slang term for the corporation’s most important senior executives.  C-Suite gets its name because top senior executives’ titles tend to start with the letter C – chief, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief information officer.  The chief, or the C-Suite, is considered the most important and influential group of individuals at a company.  Being a member of this group comes with high-stakes decision-making, a more demanding workload and high compensation. 

Which is why, if you’re prospecting for business, it’s the Chief, or the council members of the C-Suite, that you should hail to! :)

How to hail?  Nicholas Read lists The 8 Drivers of Executive Decision-Making, in the April 2010 issue of Small Business CEO online magazine.  Nicholas Read is the co-author of Selling to the C-Suite, and the president of consulting firm www.saleslabs.com.

Nicholas’ article gives us a peek into the chief’s mind; what he worries about, what makes him tick, and what possibly keeps him awake at night – the so-called factors or drivers of decision-making.  For entrepreneurs like us knocking with business proposals, it’s important to know what these drivers are, so we can plan and customize our sales pitch to the C-Suite.  :)

8 Drivers of C-Suite Decisions

1. Financial drivers.    Nicholas writes that “every executive is under financial pressure to perform. At the most basic level, executives must do one of two things to produce a profit: increase revenue or reduce costs.”  The chief’s nod would always be towards what will help the needle point to profit, instead of loss.  If you can show how your proposal can help on this aspect, you’ll definitely get the chief’s attention! :)

2. Operational drivers.  Constantly improving the internal organization until it arrives at the best formula that gives the best financial return, is again another chief (no pun intended! :) ) concern.  Help the chief operate in the smoothest, most efficient way possible with your new approaches and strategies, and he’ll be happy to listen to everything that you have to offer.

3. Supplier drivers.   Out-of-stock situations are supply nightmares that the chief would never want to get into.  If he’s in-charge of the buying side of the supply chain, his primary concern lies on his supply’s reliability, quality and economy.  What would make the chief sleep well into the night would be a reliable level of interdependence between the buyer and the seller.  Whatever ensures that when he wakes up tomorrow, his people will have enough stocks to sell, and will not in the near future, run out of supply, is going to be a long and interesting conversation with you. :)

4. Business Partner drivers.  Chief opportunity here! :)  Keep in mind that in light of changing business environments, your prospects are always on the look-out for the most suitable partner.  If you can convince the chief that you understand his pressures, and know what he needs, and of course, you have the solution, then you are making yourself very much relevant to him and his organization.  Create value by presenting solutions. :)

5. Customer drivers.  Help the chief create competitive advantages on how to maintain and grow their existing customer base, and he will want to talk to you all day long! :)

6. Competitor drivers.  The chief who wears this hat is perhaps the most aggressive among the group. :)  He would always be hungry for market trends and competitor insights, which, fortunately, you are aware of, thanks to your business and industry network.  Pay respect to the chief by sharing your ideas and helping him see beyond his silo walls.  :)  Just remember to keep client names and sensitive information confidential, you wouldn’t want to lose your credibility in the process.

7. Globalization drivers.  Helping the chief anticipate and navigate global issues on labor and production, outsourcing products and services to low-cost off shore providers will be a valuable contribution.  You can help him further if “you have studied the customer’s situation and weighed their options as judiciously as though you were on their Board-it’s the value they’re looking for. :)

8. Regulatory drivers.  Corporate scandals and industry regulation offenses are issues that the chief would not want to wake up to and read in the papers in the morning.  It’s more than enough that the pressures of raking in profit and keeping the investors happy are on their shoulders.  Nicholas points out in his article that “if you have a solution that helps executives stay compliant with regulations and out of jail, and if you can demonstrate how it will work in the context of their business today, you’ll unlock the C-Suite everytime! :)

Pay tribute to the chief by keeping these decision-making factors in mind whenever you approach the “council leaders” for a business proposal or solution.  This way, you’re adding value to your relationship and your services by helping the chief do his job the best way possible, and continue to look good to the tribe at the same time! :)

Hail to all you readers!
Adaire


Image by: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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