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The Right Way to Position Yourself for Executive Roles

If you have been trying to break through to executive roles for a while, already doing next-level work, expanding your scope, and getting results, yet you are still not perceived as executive material... it likely means you don’t know how to effectively sell yourself.


I get it. I used to cringe when I thought about self-promotion.


But at the Director level, your ability to position yourself as executive material is what will eventually allow you to level up.


If you avoid selling yourself, the result may be seeing other people with less experience get promoted over you, never being tapped for strategic assignments, and not being considered for executive roles.


So ask yourself: on a scale of 1-5, where one means you have no idea how to sell yourself, and five means you have mastered the art of selling, where do you fit in?


If you don’t like the answer, this guide is for you.

 

The Misconception of Self-Selling


Before we dive into the strategy, let's debunk a common misconception: Selling yourself isn't about shouting the loudest or taking credit for everything.


It doesn’t require movie star charisma or sending tedious emails.


Selling yourself the right way means: Becoming the best solution to the organization's needs.


It means planning your everyday actions to tell a story that screams “executive material”. 


It’s a strategic approach, one that builds your brand and creates a lasting impact.


 

Shaping Perception: The Key to Executive Positioning 


In the corporate world, perception is reality. How others perceive you—your impact, visibility, and communication—shapes their opinions and, ultimately, their decisions about your career trajectory. 


No matter what you do, people will form an opinion about you. It’s what all humans do. We use signals from our environment to form an opinion about someone. You probably do it too.


We think that executive presence is something we should reserve for the boardroom, but it is shaped by your everyday actions. What you do, how you communicate, and who you engage with shape how decision-makers see you. 


And if that is the case, you need to know how to show up to create the right perception.




The Golden Triangle


To shift perception in your favor, I want to introduce the concept of the Golden Triangle. It represents the three elements required to influence how people see you: Impact, Visibility, and Communication. 


Impact: This is the work you do and to what extent you can move the needle. The more you can impact the bottom line of the company, the more positive attention you’ll attract.


Checking boxes and meeting expectations doesn’t excite anyone. But when you exceed expectations, that’s when you earn recognition. 


Visibility: This is all about who knows about you and your work. It’s important to make sure the influential decision-makers would be aware of your contribution.


Without visibility, it’s like performing your best comedy skit in your living room. If no one sees it, does it matter?


Communication: This is about how you tell your story and share your ideas.


The way you communicate, not just what you say, has a massive influence on how you are perceived. So learning to articulate your value proposition clearly and concisely is crucial. 


To position yourself as executive material, you’ll need all three.




Show Impact Like an Executive


If you:


  • Get a lot done, small impact for each task

  • Work doesn’t move the needle

  • No future impact, tactical solutions


You may be creating the get sh*t done perception.



But if you: 


  • Do less, but make a bigger impact

  • Work moves the needle, impacts the bottom line

  • Your work shapes the future success of your company


You will be sending a message that you are executive material.



How do you do that?


Focus on making meaningful contributions that align with strategic objectives, rather than simply checking off tasks on your to-do list.


  1. Ruthlessly prioritize your work

  2. Focus on outcomes, not outputs

  3. Dedicate time for strategy and planning

 


We all have the same 8 hours of work, but executives manage their time differently. They focus on creating a bigger ROI for the organization, not just getting more done. Focus on demonstrating your ability to drive meaningful results and contribute to the organization's success. 


 


Gain Visibility Like an Executive


If you:


  • Talk to everyone and anyone

  • No strategic relationships

  • Raise your hand to speak, even with nothing to say


You may be creating the get sh*t done perception.



But if you:


  • Network strategically

  • Build and maintain the right relationships

  • Communicate the impact of your most relevant work


Then you will be showing your stakeholders that you have what it takes to be an executive.



How to do that:


  1. Build strong relationships with the right stakeholders early on

  2. Set expectations with them, so you can exceed them

  3. Work in public, not in silo


People promote people. Cultivate relationships with influential stakeholders who can advocate for your advancement and provide valuable opportunities for growth. You need the decision-makers to be aware of your work and your influence, in order to be top of mind for opportunities. It’s not about making friends (that’s a bonus), it’s about creating alliances. 


 


Communicate Like an Executive


If you:


  • Share every detail of every task

  • No clear point

  • Tactical

You’ll be creating the wrong perception.



But if you:


  • Speak with confidence

  • Come off as concise and clear

  • Communicate what's relevant and impactful

  • Talk about future-facing vision


Your communication will make it clear that you are executive material.



How do you do that?


  1. Prepare in advance

  2. Practice executive summary

  3. Tie your success to the company’s success


This is what most people consider executive communications. It’s not about using fancy Ivy League jargon or pretty presentations; it’s about being able to deliver a clear and compelling message that drives action.


Your goal is to tailor your messaging to resonate with your audience, highlighting the strategic value you bring to the table and aligning your goals with those of the organization.


 


Your next steps


Selling yourself isn't about bragging or tacky self-promotion; it's about demonstrating your value in a way that resonates with decision-makers and positions you as the natural choice for executive roles.


If your actions are not sending the right message, evaluate where you can improve, and start making changes.


While it may require some effort at the beginning, it will eventually become how you work. Selling yourself will be your default, which means you will be self-promoting without even trying.


And the best part? When you rely on your actions to shape perception, you are building your brand. Instead of using random acts to get attention that no one will remember, you’ll be building a reputation that will continue to open doors in the future.


Work smarter, not harder. Remember?


 

I believe in you and I'm rooting for you

Maya ❤️


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