5 Ways Executives Think & How To Communicate Accordingly

1. Don't Waste Their Time

Executives try to cram a "success" activity into most every minute. Whatever activities they do are somehow related to upward mobility. Versus most people don't really think about managing their time, except that they're too busy. Which is why executives get very irritated when they feel that you are wasting their time. Therefore, use their time sparingly and give them the summary first.

2. Be Prepared

Executives can always answer that question. They seem to be able to tackle any question no matter how far it is from their top of mind. Versus most people tend to be a little vague. Have a project dashboard online that you regularly update; attach key documents (like Sharepoint). Be ready to answer seemingly random and detailed questions, often with a time lag.

3. Align With Their Priorities

Executives trade in multiple interconnected forms of capital: power, influence, status, connectivity, celebrity, intellectual, information, gossip, and of course money. To navigate this maze they develop minds like chess players. Their calculus is sophisticated they depend on trusted people to understand their priorities and get them accomplished. Understand your place in the ecosystem by respecting the priorities of your executive. Either get on board and get it done, or get out.

4. Hold Yourself Accountable

Every day executives are on the hot seat for about a million different reasons. They hold themselves accountable, they are held accountable, and so they will hold you accountable. When an executive gives you responsibility, guess what? You've just adopted a starving pet. Feed it, nurture it, and grow it until it's self-sustaining and you can focus on something else.

5. Stay In Their Moment

Executives are very focused people. It's important to align with their thinking in the moment and not distract them. When they determine it's appropriate to discuss weekend or holiday plans, for example, do that. When interested in developments on a particular issue, stay with that. And so on. If you want to introduce a topic not on their mind or on their plate, determine the channel they use for "new issues" and bring it up that way. In general, stay attuned to them and follow their lead.

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