How to Talk to Your CEO- Cynthia LaConte


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2013 Women Leaders Conference

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How to Talk to Your CEO- Cynthia LaConte

  1. 1. Let’s TalkHow to talk to your CEOWomen Leaders Conference03/15/13 1
  2. 2. Agenda• What your CEO thinks about • Creating a company roadmap• Speaking the language of “C” • Interpreting a company dashboard• Communication styles 101 (know thy audience) • Using a DISC assessment• Tools for delivery & follow-up
  3. 3. Who’s Dohmen?• Trusted partner to 600 drug and device companies• And 6600 employers• 850 employees• 10 companies• 5 states• 650,000 square feet pharma facility space• Processing $9 billion in transactions annually• Touching 16 million consumers & 16% of US Rx’s• Helping 123 million people through our foundation• And we’re 155 years old this year! 3
  4. 4.
  5. 5. Change
  6. 6. Ideas
  7. 7. What your CEO is thinking about1 What values characterize your company • Short-run profit, long-term growth, innovation, cost2 What is your strategic intent • Purpose, mission, envisioned future3 What are the external conditions • Regulators, industry trends, global challenges4 What is the competitive environment like • Competitors defined by cost, quality, growth rates5 What are your distinctive competencies? • What your company does better than the rest- PETER DRUCKER
  8. 8. Roadmaps: a path to the future
  9. 9. Roadmaps: why they’re importantBecause…1. Roadmaps bring the future into focus • They operationalize strategic ideas into tactics2. They help prioritize a pipeline of possibilities • If everything’s important, nothing’s important • Resources are never unlimited • Know your companies top 5, but live #13. They create a “picture” of the future that can be shared • With common terminology about where we’re going
  10. 10. What’s on the roadmap?Values:• A company’s values express the principles that guide its internal conduct and its relationship with the external world• They define group beliefs and act as a framework to guide behavior• They already exist whether they’re written down or not • They’re enduring tenants - part of your company’s DNA • And everyone knows what they are • Leadership is practiced in actions more than wordsWhy it’s important?• Your communication (& behavior) should align with your company’s core values. If not, you may be working at the wrong place!
  11. 11. What’s on the roadmap?Vision/Mission• Enterprise vision describes a desired future state • “What does our organization want to accomplish?” (beyond just profit)• Mission statements define why a company exists • It’s a short, succinct statement • What business you’re in • Who your customer isWhy it’s important?• You should be able to answer “yes” to the question, does my initiative support our vision +/or mission and describe how
  12. 12. What’s on the roadmap?Competitive Advantage• When a firm sustains profits that exceed industry averages, it has a competitive advantage over its rivals• There are two types • Cost – you deliver the same benefits as competitors at a lower cost • Differentiation – you deliver benefits that exceed those of competing productsWhy it’s important?• Businesses without a sustainable competitive advantage are short-lived• You need to know what your company considers its competitive advantage because that what it will invest in 12
  13. 13. What’s on the roadmap?SWOT• An analysis of a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. • Strengths = the internal capabilities that make a company strong • Weaknesses = the internal obstacles that make a company vulnerable • Opportunities = the external conditions that should be leveraged • Threats = the external marketplace conditions that need to be addressedWhy it’s important?• It’s a simple way to understand your company’s business context• You should be able to position an idea as something that strengthens a weakness, exploits a strength, takes advantage of an opportunity or defends against a threat 13
  14. 14. What’s on the roadmap? Sandbox • The sandbox describes a company’s “go to market” strategy • What do we sell (products/services) • Who do we sell to (customer segments) • Where do we sell (geography) Why it’s important? • It’s how companies think about growth; new services, new segments and new geographies all lead to new revenue • Think about your idea relative to these categories. Will it generate growth opportunities – how? 14
  15. 15. What’s on the roadmap? Strategic initiatives → yearly goals → quarterly tactics • Define your company’s three year growth strategies • New product launches • New market segments • New geographies • Identify & prioritize what has to be done to get this year • And this quarter… Why it’s important? • Ideas don’t count unless they’re executed • Align your idea with the objectives of the organization 15
  16. 16. The language of C: financial dashboardsMarch
  17. 17. The language of C: financial dashboardAn income statement (P&L) answers the question – how’d we do?Revenue = Sales• Know what your company is selling & how revenue is generated• Know your company’s yearly revenue goals and what’s behind them• Is revenue growing, declining – how can you affect itExpenses = Costs• Cost of goods/services and cost of general administration (SG&A)• Are they higher or lower than prior year as a % of revenue• How can you reduce themProfit = Net income• Revenues less expenses determines profit during a specific periodWhy it’s important?• Your communication should be grounded in an understanding of how your company makes money
  18. 18. The language of C: financial dashboardA balance sheet answers the question – how healthy are we?Money = cash = capital• How much money your company has in the bank• Is your company’s cash position strong or weak• Will your idea require capitalReturn on Assets (ROA) = Return on Investment (ROI)• How much money your company is making on investments• How will your idea produce a return for the investment of resources
  19. 19. The language of C: financial dashboardA budget answers the question – what does the future look like?Projected performance• A budget is a plan that predicts income and expenses for the year• It helps companies manage their resources and plan for the future• It drives decision making by monitoring performance to planWhy it’s important• Familiarize yourself with your company or department’s budget• Identify how your idea will impact itOther metrics• Familiarize yourself with your company or department’s budget• Identify how your idea will impact it
  20. 20. The language of C: financial dashboardWhat matters gets measured• Your company has non-financial metrics too • Performance guarantees to your clients • Quality • Productivity • Diversity • Client SatisfactionIdentify whether your idea can improve the KPI’s that matter to your company and its customers
  21. 21. HI I:Hi D: InfluencingDominantHi C: Hi S:Compliant Steady
  22. 22. Know thy audienceHow you lead & communicate are influenced by your personality styleDueling paradigms • Don’t assume your paradigm is the same as your listenersPeople don’t do things against you, they do things for themselves • We influence others by adapting our own behaviors to their needsConflict comes from a clash of styles • People who behave differently are different, not wrongBeware of using labels • DISC can help you relate to how people see the world • But everyone is a unique blend of these four behavioral types
  23. 23. Know thy audienceHigh D individuals • Are outgoing and task-oriented: dominant & decisive • Just the facts, get things done, broad brush, little use for details • Tips for communicating with a bottom line person: • Be efficient and businesslike • Be brief, get to the point and then be gone • Be prepared with a well organized “package” • Don’t ramble or give too many details • Just give facts and options for action • Talk in terms of results, not methods • Keep meetings fast paced and well planned HINT: CEO’s often exhibit this behavior
  24. 24. Know thy audienceHigh I individuals • Are outgoing and people-oriented: inspiring & influencing • Magnetic, friendly, enthusiastic, curious, expressive • Tips for communicating with “promoters”: • Leave time for social niceties – relationships reign • Be prepared to talk about family, hobbies, etc. • Don’t over control the conversation • Ask for their opinion • Talk about the people involved in a project • Put tasks in writing or you may never get to them • Give lots of chances to talk in meetings HINT: CEO’s often exhibit this behavior
  25. 25. Know thy audienceHigh S individuals • Are reserved and people-oriented: supportive & steady • Low key, cool, calm, patient, don’t like conflict • Tips for communicating with supporters: • Don’t come on too strong • Start with a comment that weaves work & life together • Talk softly and non-threateningly • Give time to think • Earn their trust in small steps • Don’t demand fast decisions • Provide reassurance • Talk in terms of security, guarantees, testimonials • Stop and check for agreement in meetings
  26. 26. Know thy audienceHigh C individuals • Are reserved and task-oriented: cautious & conscientious • Perfectionists, careful, thoughtful, analytical, conservative, detailed • Love lists, charts, graphs, figures • Tips for communicating with Analyzers: • Be well prepared with facts & stick to business • Keep emotion to a minimum • Have facts and figures for back-up • Expect skepticism • Answer all of their questions • Allow time for analysis, don’t demand fast decisions
  27. 27. One Page Communications Plan 27
  28. 28. Get talking. Ideas are meant to be shared!Be courageous – make the appointment & don’t be afraid of hierarchy!Be prepared – do your homework ahead of time & show that you knowBe specific & to the point – explain your idea & how it will improve the co.Be brief – respect the value of time and provide a one page executive summaryBe aligned – connect your concept to the company roadmap & objectivesBe diligent – clarify action items and own the follow-upBe nice – don’t forget to say thanks (to your CEO and their EA!)