Great companies have great presence

Strong executive presence

In top restaurants, the Head Chef makes sure the vegetables are served with the meat, not ten minutes later. Synchronized service matters.


The Head Chef doesn’t cook everything himself. He’s in constant communication with his team to get the various main courses for each table out of the kitchen at the same time. The Head Chef gives his staff continuous support to get things done.


The best global executives do the same. They know they can’t do it all themselves. Different time zones and geographical distance mean they depend on others – local managers – to get the work done.


Whether you’re a Head Chef or a global executive, a core skill is choosing what to focus your organisation on now. That’s presence.



Choosing to have strong presence

Presence takes daily practice before it becomes embedded in the culture of your company – in the organisational DNA.


This month, I had a Zoom meeting with 14 managers. It was a three-hour meeting. That’s a long one, even with breaks. To their great credit, the 14 managers were full present and totally focused, which meant:

  1. we got through all of the points faster,
  2. the questions they asked were highly relevant,
  3. the information exchange was extremely efficient, and
  4. no time was lost on repeating information.


The decision to be present was the choice that each of those 14 managers made. It’s embedded in their culture. All of their processes have these hallmarks.


How many of your global meetings have fully focused managers? Or is it just “cardboard cut-out presence” – you see the person, but you know they are doing emails and reading other documents?


There’s a clear benefit for the managers, too. strong personal presence is correlated with your people thinking positively about you and the company. It’s a core characteristic of being highly-respected and well-liked. And it makes it easier to show your competence.


Compartmentalize to get clear outcomes and actions

Then there is their ability to compartmentalize. This comes from the managers’ presence. It’s the skill of focusing on one task at a time, setting priorities, and making sure each discussion or email has a clear outcome or clear action attached.


No wonder the company is hitting its growth targets and performing well.



To sum up, executive presence is a choice – a vital choice for global executives. It’s also a simple choice that each person makes every day. By being present, you can swiftly switch focus by compartmentalizing decision. That leads to great growth and happier employees all over your global organisation.




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