How to influence your CEO and senior management

How to influence your CEO and senior management

Our recent LexisNexis Flying Solo event took place on Wednesday 15 October 2019. We had a great turnout with over 60 lawyers from different industries ranging from Aston Martin to Ocado attending the session.

Sophie Gould, Consultant Head of In-house LexisNexis, led a panel discussion focused on ‘How to influence your CEO and senior management.’ The panel discussed the importance of in-house lawyers developing great working relationships with their CEOs and management, so that they can influence and guide them to make the right decisions. 

Panelist included: Chrissi Evans, Global General Counsel at Randstad Enterprise Group, Luscinia Brown-Hovelt Head of Legal at WSH, and Mack Allan Regional Managing Director at Baxter Storey. The main points covered were:

  • Understanding the different types of CEO 
  • Recognising CEOs as peers and working with them
  • Looking at the bigger picture 

The panel shared their own experiences on why building good relationships is the key to influencing management, emphasising on the fact that ‘People trust people they know!’ 

One of the main points of discussion was on the importance of understanding your CEO and identifying the different types of CEOs in different organisations. What makes them different? And what makes them the same? Kodak digital was used as an example, explaining that the digital camera was created 30 years before it was released to the market. However, as CEOs wanted to avoid disruption to a well-established industry, they didn’t launch it until years later. Evidently, some CEOs do not welcome change, where others would have launched the product immediately regardless of disruption. What do they have in common? CEOs are all results-driven, hard-working and usually have a lot of money and not a lot of time. 

The discussion continued with a focus on why you should look at your CEOs like peers and develop ideas on how you can work together. Explaining that one of the best ways to influence your CEO is by having a clear understanding of their role and the issues they face day to day. Shadowing your CEO is always a good way to learn about the company and get some context as it helps you get up to speed with the organisation and understand your CEO’s priorities and concerns. 

The panel concluded by highlighting some of the issues faced by in-house lawyers and the need to look at the bigger picture. Organsiations often see in-house lawyers as interchangeable, they don’t understand that lawyers need to go in and learn the different products and different rules for different companies. You are expected to be in the know and to provide them with answers fast. So, you should ensure you are ahead of the game and know what’s coming next. We know lawyers can’t be interchangeable, so it’s important to step back and see the bigger picture so that you can influence your CEO successfully. 

Flying Solo is a forum created exclusively to support sole in-house lawyers and those in small teams. It is run by a committee of in-house lawyers and it’s facilitated and sponsored by LexisNexis and Radius Law. Join us at our next event on 25th March 2020.

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