James E. Lukaszewski is an expert in managing and reducing contention, counteracting tough, touchy, sensitive corporate communications issues. He is a prolific author (six books, hundreds of articles), lecturer (corporate, college and university), trainer, counselor, and internationally recognized speaker.
He led a stimulating session discussing the managerial perspective, including how to think strategically and be trustworthy in order to be the one that your boss wants at the table. Lukaszewski said he was happy to be discussing his most favorite subject, “You.”
The Trusted Strategist Advisor
What does it mean to be strategic? All problems that face an organization are communication problems first before they are any other kind of problem. This is this hardest issue we face, because we live our lives by communication. We need to look at the world through a leader’s perspective.
The idea of leadership is really about making decisions. No one hires us to be solution finders. Our job is to make suggestions and to provide options from which they can then choose.
We are the only ones that walk into the room with the big idea and the silver bullet. However, if they don’t buy it, what happens to you? Important decisions are made between important people taking to each other.
You are the person with the skills in your field and people have to listen to you because what you say really matters. Ever been in a room when you are talking, but no one heard a word you said? You have to recognize that you are in, what Lukaszewski called, the yoyo audience. Meaning, You are On Your Own.
There are a combination of skills and attitudes that will make you successful.
- Verbal Skills – The currency of managers are their voices. You have to speak to the time. No big decisions have ever been made from a memo.
- Strategic impact – The difference between our brain and the boss’s brain, is that bosses are basically linear thinkers. They think in terms of a list of roman numerals. Process thinking drives who they are. We, on the other hand, are the intuitive thinkers. Our brain is a circle full of stuff that we experience, much like how Lukaszewski explains, a wastebasket. If you want to get your ideas across, you have to find a way to give advice strategically, in a strategic format.
- Inconsistency – Come up with something different every time.
- Constructive approaches – How well do we give measured advice?
Pattern recognition – You can predict the future by paying attention to the present. If a client has the same problem of one of your previous clients you know how to help them because you were paying attention.
- Managerial perspectives
- Challenge every assumption you have.
- Optimism management.
- Look at every idea and situation in reverse.
- Be positive.
- Adjust your own perspective.
- Look for the signs of failure in leadership.
There are five reasons top people lose their jobs.
- Non performance
- Over optimism – Doing and saying things that don’t really relate to what is going on.
- People problems – Their job is to put people in place to get us there.
- Doing their own thing – They are not there running the business when they should be.
- Stuck in the mud – Inability to move something forward.
What is it that my boss really wants from people like me?
- They want advice on the spot. Management is a real time activity. When they want your input, they want it now.
- Helping the boss with what to do next. Say something that matters. People who run things make it up 25% of the time or more, because who is there to tell them what to do? People like us are.
- Provide options.
- Say things that matter. Focus on what needs to be done.
- Talk about things the boss doesn’t already know. Talk about the patterns of events and about the future.
According to Lukaszewski strategy is mental energy verbally injected through communication that helps achieve effectiveness.
The key thing that a CEO does, is determine where we are going to go. Managers are hired to work inside the box to get the job done. The leaders job is to work outside the box and come back and tell us about the destination. You can’t have a strategy without a destination.
Lukaszewski suggests reading Harvard Business Review, since the CEO’s read it and if you do so as well, it will help you get involved in the conversation.
The life of a CEO has changed dramatically. Its more stressful and less is tolerated today. CEOs are fundamentally without competent help and many people around them are making things up.
Three Minute Drill
Give strategic managerial advice in three minutes because time matters. Talking to time is an extremely important concept. We speak in approximately 150 words per minute, so therefore, three minutes is approximately 450 words. Follow these steps when giving advice.
- The introduction/description.
- Explanation or impact analysis. Why does it matter and what is the urgency?
- Goal step. Get to the answer. Tell them where we are headed so they don’t have to worry about it.
- Provide options. Always provide three options whenever you are giving advice. Option 1 is do nothing. Option 2 Do something. Option 3 is do something more.
- The recommendation step.
- Justification step. Be prepared to justify why you are suggesting it.
The moment you talk about steps, parts, moments and ingredients, the CEOs will understand it. It’s a process now – rather than a wastebasket approach. Its something they will understand and take in. It’s a big difference. This tends to work extraordinary well. It’s a very powerful tool.
What does it mean to be a table?
- Be a finisher.
- Get things done and stop things that can never be done.
- Be a source of inspiration.
- Help others succeed.
- Make your own processes work.
If you do all these things, you will have a much more meaningful, successful career in public relations