My friend Penelope Trunk was blogging at the Forbes Executive Women's Forum when Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Citigroup's Global Wealth Management, was interviewed.
Krawcheck gave this stellar tip on how to become a visionary business leader:
"I tell all young people to become an analyst after school. You pull out bits of information and put together a picture. Sometimes it looks like a dog or sometimes a cake. Then you make decisions with imperfect information. And when you get another piece, you say oh it's not a cake. So its practice making decisions with imperfect information. This is what you do as a CEO every day."
(You can read the full interview here.)
OK, so it's probably too late to reboot your career and begin again as an analyst, but you can weave Sallie Krawcheck's advice into any job.
Next time you need to give a status update or report on results, don't just present the data -- make decisions with that information -- even if the information is imperfect.
Take your presentation one step further. Engage your inner visionary, and:
- Draw conclusions
- Describe why it is relevant in the broader context of the business
- Link your findings to current trends, or business strategy
- Make decisions
- Make predictions
- Assert your recommendations, and
- Put forward PROPOSALS.
Are you ready to take on a bigger role? Make proposals, and do it often. Make a habit of putting forward your ideas, solutions, or value-add projects. Get used to finishing every presentation with:
"My proposal is that we... a, b, c".
But don't just pitch your proposals -- remember to pitch yourself too! Let them know you are the ideal person to lead the charge. Too often I hear women describe how they suggested a great idea, but forgot to pitch themselves as the person to lead the initiative. Someone else assumed the idea was up for grabs, and took the lead.
Complete your proposal by stating why you are the best person for the job:
"I am uniquely qualified to lead this initiative because... a, b, c".