Every interaction builds—or detracts from—your reputation. That’s especially true when you’re interacting with C-Suite executives. Make sure you’re clear on your purpose and declare it upfront. There are four common reasons to approach an executive:
- You want a decision
- You’re bringing news that doesn’t require action
- You want to complain about someone
- You want personal advice and counsel
Some rules of thumb:
- If you’re looking for a decision, make sure to include possible solutions and provide your recommendation.
- Use your judgment when bringing news—bad news is particularly unpopular on Friday afternoons (unless it’s business critical).
- If you want to complain about someone, have this conversation only if you can bring that person with you to the meeting.
- It’s fine to ask for advice, but remember that it’s your problem to solve. Don’t expect the executive to take any action to solve your issue.
Remember that these people are running the company and their time is invaluable. Make sure that you use your time with them wisely. It will pay off in more ways than one.