Getting Credit from the Execs

August 14, 2017

Getting Credit from the Execs

In the last post, you were disappointed that your boss was tapped to do an important presentation on the pre-kindergarten game that you designed.

You should get credit for your achievements and, to be fair, your supervisor, Melody, has done so. But I get why you might want the powers-that-be to know also—it’s a way to build your credibility and career.

Let’s discuss how to come to the attention of senior people when you are in a large company.

Offer to do technical demo

In the previous conversation, Melody justified doing the presentation because she could present the financial and marketing background. It makes sense, but you might be able to wrangle doing the technical demonstration of the game.

Might work, might not. A lot will depend, not so much on Melody’s good will (although that’s important, also) but on your company’s usual way of handling the situation.

How to act at the executive meeting

Say you get permission to do the technical demo. Congrats but you need to ensure you make the most of the opportunity. You want everyone to think, “What an up-and-comer,” not “Who does he think he is?” Here are some things to keep in mind.

Where you sit. I know this sounds stupid but in some larger or more established companies, who gets to sit at the table (with its concomitant right to speak to the issues) is a jealously guarded right. Ignoring this unspoken protocol can start you off on the wrong foot. Ask Melody beforehand about this.

Whether you join the discussion. You might think that having given a dynamite technical presentation, you can jump into the discussion. Not so fast. If you’re in the peanut gallery (i.e. the seats against the wall), that pretty much establishes that you should not unless asked a specific question. But even at the table, you should not presume that you’re entitled to engage in the debate. Stick to facts and not opinion (e.g. “the game will withstand 150 lbs of pressure,” but not “you need to fund this because it’s got great market potential”).

Defer to boss on questions. Sometimes, an executive might ask you a question which Melody is better suited to answer. You should defer to her and not try to wing it.

Don’t try to outshine your boss. Remember, it’s probably a career opportunity for Melody, too, so she also needs the spotlight. And you have to work for her tomorrow.

Other ways to get credit

Presentations at conferences. If you’re not getting the recognition inside the company, you can speak at conferences or on-line working groups. If you do, make sure you know the company’s policy on the sharing of proprietary information (i.e. your game).

Get to know the other stuff. The presenter needs to know all aspects of the business. If you really want the air time with the bigwigs, then you might want to start paying attention to these other issues so you are ready for prime time when it comes.

Does all this really matter?

In this post and several beforehand, I’ve outlined how to get credit for what you do. Some might be thinking, “It’s the work I care about, not the credit.” Fair enough but being consistently associated with successful projects, over time, usually leads to even more interesting and challenging opportunities.

But they won’t give them to you if they don’t know about you. Don’t hide your light under a bushel.

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