Executive And Business Networks In Singapore and Asia Pacific (APAC) For Economic Growth
Executive networks help members improve their effectiveness and gain a competitive advantage in business. Executive network members share new ideas, solve specific problems and uncover best practices in a non-competing group. You can participate in networking activities and join networking groups for increased business effectiveness.
Every person you meet is a potential networking contact. A network replaces the weakness of an individual with the strength of a support system. Networking can be difficult. Reaching out to make and maintain contacts remains a tough task for many. Networking doesn’t come naturally to many people. Effective networking is a continuous process requiring consistent attention. Networking is a two-way relationship. Networking is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. Executive networks can help with competitive insights and with exposure to new opportunities.
Networking can be done in-person, online or both. Meeting contacts face-to-face allows you to develop stronger bonds. Networking online is beneficial with the speed and ease of electronic communication. Executive networks can be facilitated by trained experts.
A company's finance director or CFO has always played a key role in the growth of the business in China. Aside from the usual finance related tasks, a demanding role is played dealing with regulators, media and overseas board of directors. This more visible and public role puts more pressure on CFOs to build executive presence. Many companies have found their growth constrained when their finance director is unable to take this role. Shielding finance directors from conferences and media sessions prevents companies from maximizing the potential of their CFO.
What is Executive Presence?
Executive presence is something that is not taught in business schools, but every successful leader has it. Top executives command people's attention when they walk into a room. When there is a crisis situation, the team turns to them for an opinion. Executives with presence are placed in high profile, high stakes roles to drive the company's reputation and business forward. Executive presence can be created by looking at it from three perspectives: executive credibility, positive image projection and executive connections.
Every company has a culture that includes norms on how to dress. The key to success is to first fit in to get ahead. For an executive working in finance, dress like a finance executive: well fitting suits in blues, grays and blacks will fit in. Conservative colored shirts - blues and whites work in every situation while some executives can carry more colorful shades like pink or lilac strips. Ties allow more room for self-expression with a mix of the above colors used on various patterns like stripes, checkerboard, dots and paisley. In finance, clients expect a safe and traditional approach to business and that is reflected in the dress-sense.
Creative executives in advertising or online marketing have a greater scope to be individualistic. Out of the box thinking can be manifested in clothing colors, and hair styles. In this type of industry, where creativity Is valued, this type of presentation is acceptable. However, even in these industries as you move up the organization, executives tend to converge to a dress-code.
Look around at industry and company norms, and dress a little smarter than is expected. As Jeffrey Fox says in his book, How to become CEO, "look sharp and be sharp". Invest in quality clothing, polish your shoes and groom your hair and fingernails. Successful executive presence starts with an executive look. The first step is to look like a confident executive. Stand out by paying close attention to the small details of personal grooming.
Positive image projection
In today's world of ever-present media, sounding good is an essential part of becoming an executive with presence. Many up-and-coming executives from technical disciplines, such as finance or IT, find this daunting. This can be due to the nature of what has made them successful. A strong focus on accuracy in numbers or minute details in coding are not the best preparation for being an outgoing charismatic executive. As executives move up the ladder into key roles, like finance director, CFO and regional roles, there is an expectation that they can handle public occasions.
A CFO needs to mix with potential clients at networking functions, present a case to regulators and handle media questions. Sounding confident, presenting concisely and managing questions are all stock-in-trade for a successful executive. This can be a big jump for many managers. So many take crash-courses in working with media or work with coaches to bolster their skills and confidence in personal expression.
Start with low-risk environments and if necessary bring in a mentor or HR partner to guide the finance executive into roles and situations where they need to stand up and present a clear message. This support is essential to create self-confidence in the executive. Small wins should be recognized and regular feedback given to the executive. Also, specific suggestions to improve their projection should be an important part of this feedback.
While executive presence can seem like an intangible quality, it is essential for a leader to influence and motivate their team. One of the greatest assets that President Bill Clinton had as a leader was his ability to make every person he spoke with feel like they were special and that he really cared about them and what was on their mind. In a world of emails, text messages and tweets, it's important to remember the power of personal connection.
Executive presence can be divided into competencies and one key competency is "connecting". Executives need to project warmth to their stakeholders and especially stay accessible to their direct reports. This can be challenging for executives from technical disciplines where the focus tends to be on task rather than people. Some executives benefit from support in self-awareness using assessment centers and 360 degree feedback from their directs, peers and managers. This shows their relative strengths and behaviors that may need further development.
For example, a finance executive who needs to develop more client relationships found that their natural preference was to focus on procedures and standards. In fact, this behavior helped them become a fantastic finance manager. The executive realized that they would never be a charismatic, super-outgoing, and life-of-the-party executive, so she decided to hold small presentations for key potential clients to introduce new and changing regulations. Her ability to simply and clearly explain these changes was greatly appreciated and lead to further business opportunities. All executives should build from their strengths to create their own unique executive presence.
While life in the executive suite focuses on business strategy and numbers, building executive presence in key roles, like CFO, is essential to maintain the reputation, credibility and success of the firm. In key and complex markets, like China, this becomes a necessity rather than a nice-to-have.
How To Make an Effective Management Conference
Key things that Betruedesign recommends to consider for increasing effectiveness of an executive network are:
- Build your network before you need it.
Constantly build and strengthen your connections with your network. Do something to build your network each and every day.
- Reach out to others.
Identify the specific need you have and then contact people who are in a position to help you fulfill that specific need. Don’t be afraid in asking for help.
- Be specific.
Be specific in what you’re asking for. The clearer you make it for your network, the better your results will be. The more people know about your needs and objectives, the better they’ll be able to help.
- Be a valuable resource.
Actively foster relationships. Networking must be a two-way relationship. Its easy to move forward by helping people who ask for assistance. Only this way your network will be stronger when you need it. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship.
- Increase your visibility.
Establish yourself as an influencer. Mentor, speak at conferences, and participate in volunteering work.
- Use technology.
Social media can also be effective in helping you achieve your networking goals.
- Go deep and wide.
Build relationships with professionals across industries and locations, not just peer-level contacts.
- Say thank you.
Always show your appreciation to members in your executive network.
At Betruedesign we strongly believe “Networking Is About Sharing”. It is about forming trust and helping one another toward goals.