Five Tips on Becoming Trusted Counsel to the C-Suite

November 29, 2015
Mark Gregory

One of the most common and difficult challenges all professionals face is building a relationship with the leader of their organization and senior management, or the C-suite. Nothing is more disheartening than to offer good PR advice only to have the leader act on the counsel of others; sometimes with ruinous results for corporate reputation.

The foundation of success for all ‘trusted advisors’ is that they have earned the leader’s trust. Trust cements their strong and strategic relationship with the leader. Their connection with the leader is authentic, genuine and mutually rewarding.

Here are five vital things trusted advisors do to build and sustain the trust of the C-suite:

  1. With integrity, they ‘speak truth to power’ and never fear the courageous conversation.
    Communicators carve out a trusted brand when they act as the conscience of an organization, address tough questions and challenge the leader with insightful analysis and alternatives.
  2. They are future-livers whose thinking is always visionary and strategic.
    Leaders look to those who are a step ahead of trends and issues. Reputation and brand build when you avoid problems and capitalize on opportunity.
  3. Their capital as counselors comes from communications ideas that solve pressing business problems.
    They are not perennial problem-finders; they light the way ahead with the clever and creative use of stories and imagery.
  4. Exceptional relationship-builders, they work hard to foster reputation and influence with important stakeholders.
    Leaders value those who know who matters and what moves them.
  5. Their understanding of the organization’s business and priorities is peerless. They think like a CEO.
    Trusted advisors consistently and quietly demonstrate superior reliability, competence, corporate cultural awareness and confidence.