Defining moments in the CEO-advisor relationship


Many experienced advisors can point to one or several defining moments in their relationship with the CEO, moments of breakthrough that result from how they have handled a certain task or situation. These occasions often entail an element of risk and demanded rapid decisions about complex matters.

Such is one of the nuanced findings emerging from research by Danish consulting firm RelationsPeople and the University of Copenhagen, which also includes several examples of such moments – for example:

“…a newly hired head of communications was put on the spot in a senior management meeting. After the rest of the management team had presented their recommendations regarding the particular situation, the CEO asked the new advisor for his analysis. The advisor took a deep breath before presenting a quite opposite point of view. The CEO considered both analyses for a few seconds and decided to follow the new recruit’s recommendation. For the advisor, this became a defining moment that for years played a significant part in his subsequent level of authority in the organisation.”

What each example has in common it the advisor’s proactive management of an occasion, turning it into a defining moment in the relationship by taking a risk based on an analysis of the situation. According to the report authors, Gitte Gravengaard, Anders Monrad Rendtorff and Kristian Eiberg, timing, personal courage and resilience are all essential “if an advisor is to make sure that a potentially defining moment does not end up as a missed opportunity.”

Read more from CEO Communication and the Future Communications Advisor: Managing the Paradoxical Relationship

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