Business Performance, Recent

How to get a “Seat at the Table”

2015-01-08 23.46.44

Recently I attended an ISPI event with an awesome panel in Charlotte including thought leaders: Michael Bland, Greg Flickinger, Phil Everhardt, and John Heun.

Let’s start by asking questions and then offer a few suggestions:

  • Who is your competition?  Yes, even though you are working full time as an employee in an organization, who is out there that could replace you in a minute?  To be recession proof, you must be seen as an investment to be leveraged, not a cost to be avoided. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
  • Are you serving your organization like it is your biggest and best customer?
  • How well are you following up with your internal customers?
  • Whatever you do, does it build results (ROI)?
  • What is the real business problem or goal?  What do your internal stakeholders want to accomplish, and how can you assist?
  • What is your own value?  Your unique strength (superpower)?
  • Which behavior changes are needed?
  • How do you expect those behavior changes will lead to business results?
  • How will you measure yourself?
  • Did the behavior changes actually affect the business result?


  • Host a formal stakeholder meeting.  Publish formal review notes and follow-up plans.  What are your quarterly deliverables?
  • Seek to understand their pain (in the operation), and talk about getting those fixed.  (Hint, it is nearly always the people side).
  • Use formal charter documents.  Define the problem and business goal.  Redefine the business goal until it resonates with the stakeholders.  What key metrics will be affected?  Which formal (and informal) structures will be affected?  Where is broken glass hidden?
  • Let the business owners define success!  What are the success factors for this effort?
  • Breaking down barriers, be humble, authentic, adaptable, listen to understand (vs. respond).  What does a win look like?
  • How can you break out of your box (on the organization chart) and take on an unmet need?  A great resource to guide you on this journey is

    Project Wow, by FastCompany.

  • Learn to talk in their language (anthropology – study key stakeholders in their natural environment).
  • Seat at the table is a journey starting with showing results!
  • Getting people to think differently and understand the change adoption curve.


Resistors have an alternative moniker “C.A.V.E. dwellers which stands for Citizens Against Virtually Everything”

Ultimately, you have to bring clear value that people can see and help others solve the problem at hand.