to the top
Climbing the ladder takes more than ambition.
You need a plan
by Angee Linsey
Communicators are taking their seat at the executive table—and right- fully so. In the past 10 years, the way the world consumes information has changeddramatically. Organizationsofallsizesneedsomeone whounder-stands how to navigate this new landscape and can recommend actions and engagement strategies to meet a range of business challenges.
Moving from functional leader to business leader is often a challenge for communicators. But, as with any other challenge, your success depends on honing some key
skills. The chief communicator provides deep knowledge and lessons learned from
the battlefield that many other disciplines represented at the executive table cannot.
Developing that knowledge and being able to present it clearly, having considered
all of the possible scenarios, are critical to building trust and respect among the
Adriane Brown, president and chief operating officer of Intellectual Ventures, in
the Seattle area, explains why her company’s senior vice president of corporate com-
munications and marketing, Shelby Barnes, must be part of the executive team—
and not just during a crisis: “I rely on her to present information in a timely way so
that the strategy is aligned with the business and so that we can act.”
Brown lists several key attributes that she—and many other executives—believes
are critical for someone in the top communication job, including having a thorough
understanding of the business, being able to tell it straight, and having the capacity
to process information in a fair and balanced way. “That person has to possess a
sense of resilience because we can only do our best to present to our internal and
external constituents, and it’s not always pretty,” she says.