At the last IABC-MN event, Lars Leafblad discussed how a core set of values and learning mindset are far more important than a strategic plan for career growth. And now, Aaron Zaslofsky of Wheelhouse Communications, gives us an inside look on how to use those skills to build peer-like relationships with leaders – a need we all have.
IABC-MN’s board caught up with Aaron to talk about his upcoming event in May.
IABC-MN: So yeah, you’re tackling quite the topic of having credible advisory relationships with leaders and earning influence. Talk about why it’s important for us as communicators to have what you call “peer-like” relationships.
Aaron Zaslofsky: Credibility and influence. Communicators need to show leaders how communications can influence business outcomes. And without a relationship, both professional and personal, it’s hard to be credible and influence a leader’s decision.
That’s the challenge. People don’t find it easy to be credible. What are some of the ways communicators can be credible as advisors?
I start with four pillars. There’s plenty more under each pillar, but this will give you a flavor for what we’ll discuss at the May event:
- Cultivate relationships. We’ll discuss how “relational capital” will give you more credibility instantly. It begins with a personal relationship that many neglect or don’t know how to cultivate with a leader.
- Consult strategically. I’ll lead a conversation about how communicators can provide leaders with advice that’s outcome-based. This all starts by asking the right questions.
- Gather intel for influence. For you to give strategic advice to a leader and have it accepted, it helps immensely to provide information of value for leaders. We’ll go over methods of how and where to get intel to best do your job and help a leader make the best decision.
- Be different. You need to be you. That said, we’ll go through ways of being self-promotional without appearing to do so. We’ll also talk about negotiating up the ladder of confidence – a concept you’ll use to develop trust and the freedom to use that trust with a leader.
A perception out there is that only senior-level professionals can be highly credible and influence leaders. Do you think that’s the case?
Absolutely not. I’ll tell you a story. Early in my career, I worked for McDonald’s in Boston and Minneapolis in internal and executive communications, and brand reputation. I was about five years into my career when I started with McDonald’s. So, not new but far from being a seasoned professional. I found out quickly that personally relating to leaders not only helped grow my career but also allowed me to give sound strategic advice to help drive outcome-based solutions. After about three years of working in a supervisory role, I was appointed to be chief of staff and a strategic partner to orchestrate high-stakes outcomes for a $2 billion business unit. The moral of the story is that you don’t have to be 20 years into your career to start building peer-like relationships for influence and your own personal fulfillment and happiness. I’ll teach you how to go about it in any phase of your career.
Get the dirt on building peer-like relationships with leaders by registering today.
If those four pillars weren’t enough value, we’re even feeding you and providing refreshments.