Senior Executive Engagement: The Key to Strategic Value Optimization
Senior executives in any given organization shape its direction and culture, so strategic business relationship managers seeking to influence that direction must possess the skills needed to navigate executive relationships.
Often, BRMs are taught methodologies, tools, and techniques spanning the value management cycle. However, at executive levels, these are only antes into the game—where skills like business acumen and enablement wisdom are a must.
Tactical levels speak the language of domain methodology and associated dogma. Executive levels speak the language of business, shaping its direction, enablement, and sustainability—and strategic BRMs need to master this language.
We are living in unprecedented times with digital capabilities radically transforming business models. Incumbents slow on the uptake are being disrupted by more aggressive competitors and new entrants—in short, it is a period of tumultuous change. Thinking and acting tactically won’t cut it.
While trusted advisor status at tactical levels can be valuable, trusted advisors who engage and execute at executive levels are not only seen as credible, but crucial to addressing business challenges and shaping executive thinking, decisions, and actions.
Trusted advisors who engage and execute at executive levels are not only seen as credible, but crucial to addressing business challenges and shaping executive thinking, decisions, and actions.
In short, they achieve ‘executive trusted advisor’ status, which should be the goal of strategic BRMs.
Executive trusted advisors are grown and groomed after accumulating the experience that results in wisdom. Attributes of the executive trusted advisor include:
- Appearing as a credible business executive who exudes wisdom and practical advice that addresses systemic challenges with holistic solutions based on experience
- Leveraging methodology and presentations as a means of transmitting wisdom, knowledge, and experience, rather than end-state deliverables
- Having the courage to offer insight that may be different than the party line (often at your own political peril)
- Acting first in the common interest rather than self-interest
- Having the ability to form and sustain strategic relationships needed to enable value optimization
Shaping strategic direction is not accomplished by merely following generally accepted methodologies— these validate direction and set the stage for execution that is informally set within senior leadership circles (the proverbial back of the napkin). This is where the seeds of strategic convergence are sown.
Strategic BRMs who are executive trusted advisors are a crucial part of strategic planning and execution, leading to superior outcomes for business.
Executive trusted advisors influence strategic direction and actions that are carried out by the rest of the organization. They provide executives with access to highly respected and influential guidance, without which tactical execution is sub-optimized and the organization pays efficiency and effectiveness penalties. Strategic BRMs who are executive trusted advisors are a crucial part of strategic planning and execution, leading to superior outcomes for business.
To learn more and join a community of other BRMs interested in influencing executive strategy, thinking, and decision-making, check out the Senior Executive Engagement Community of Interest (COI) on the Online Campus:
Steve Plante is the CEO of PeopleProductive Institute, an organization dedicated to helping organizations flourish in the digital age by mastering the human side of business. He has over four decades of experience navigating the intersection of business and technology, with the goal of achieving and sustaining successful outcomes via high performance culture.
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