In my last newsletter, I talked about the 3 things holding you back. Now I want to dig into one of them:

The Perception Issue

We like to say perceptions don’t matter, but sometimes that’s just not true…

Does your boss' perception matter when you’re trying to get a promotion?

You bet it does

It doesn’t matter if:

  • You’ve got great critical thinking skills

  • You have solid strategic ideas

  • You think you’re ready for the next step

If your boss has a different perception, you’re out of luck.

The interesting thing is, most of my clients don't think this is the problem until we start digging in. And 9 times out of 10, it turns out that although they think strategically and have great ideas, they aren't showing up as strategic leaders.

What Does It Mean To Show Up As A Strategic Leader? How Can You Start You Doing This Today?

I break this down into 3 elements that may seem small but will position you as a leader to those around you. They are:

  • Insights

  • Judgement

  • Framing

These 3 elements are crucial as they really guide everything you say and do, even if you don't realize it yet. And if you're thinking, “I don't know what you're talking about… I don't focus on these 3 things”

Well, that's the problem.

We'll cover the first 2 in today's newsletter.

Let's start with insights. One of the easiest ways to describe someone who's presenting themselves as insightful vs. someone who's not is to compare what they report.

Are You Reporting Metrics Or Are You Presenting Insights?

Reporting metrics is just that. Reporting the numbers. Maybe on a good day you're also sharing some trends you've observed like, “lead conversion was 13%, which is down compared to last quarter”. But you stop there

This is actually a huge missed opportunity to show your stuff…

Presenting insights looks more like this:

Lead conversion was 13%, down 2% from last quarter. This looks like a sales issue, but after doing a deep dive I discovered this is due to the mix of our inbound leads – with B and C leads making up the bulk of leads this quarter.

It turns out conversion is actually up across the board – for A leads (at 21% vs. 19%) as well as B and C leads, but because B and C leads convert at such a low rate (9% and 4%) the overall conversion looks lower.

My recommendation for next quarter is focus our digital channels on A lead sources and dial down the B and C lead sources.

Okay, this is just one example that may or may not resonate with you. The point I'm trying to make is:

Don't just report the ‘what' and then stop.

Include the ‘why' (ie. why is this change happening) and the ‘how' (ie. how can we leverage this insight for growth).

Do this, and I guarantee you'll see a change in the reaction you get when you report your metrics.

So How Can You Start Doing This?

One of the key factors in becoming more insightful is to carve out the time it takes to make this happen. If you aren't blocking out time in your calendar for strategic thinking or to dive into the data, my guess is you aren't doing this.

Finally, as with anything else, levelling up your general knowledge will help you to be more insightful. By that I mean, understanding business strategy more broadly, what's worked for others and why, can help you connect the dots more easily.

Onto The Second Element… Judgement

The second element – judgement – really refers to your judgement in everything you do, from how you spend your day to the suggestions you're bringing forward, to who you're hiring and how you're managing your team.

If your boss is constantly second guessing your decisions, you may be struggling here. My boss used to say this to me:

You should be making the right decisions about 80% of the time. More than that, and you're not taking enough risk. Less than that, and you're showing poor judgement.

As you can already see, the 3 elements are all interconnected.

You may think judgement is something you either have or you don't, but I've found that there are certain things you can do to improve your judgement:

  1. Doing a post-mortem of what went well and what didn't

  2. Running ideas by a trusted mentor or coach before presenting them to your boss

  3. Asking yourself powerful questions

The third one is probably my favourite. When I was developing myself as a senior leader, I had a calendar reminder every morning at 8am that just said:

What's the goal?

What's the bigger picture?

What's been successful for others?

These 3 questions reminded me to think in this broader, more strategic way. They also helped me to make good decisions, as I was always relating things back to the goal and the bigger picture.

That's all for today – next newsletter we'll be diving into the 3rd element, which is framing.

Until then friends… ✌️💜