Executive Presence- Do You Have “It”?

Most of us have had the experience of being with or in front of a director, manager or senior leader who had a powerful presence. Maybe we left the meeting saying, “I want to be like him/her someday!” Executive Presence, or EP, is also known as charisma, the “it” factor and the confidence code. In a survey of Chief Information Officers conducted by Gartner, E.P. was second on the list of the top 20 leadership traits that make a difference in people’s career trajectories. That same group ranked technology skills as 12th on the list.

What is the “it” in the “It” factor and how do you get more of “it” to increase your executive presence?

Executive presence is not about being ego-based or the most outspoken or gregarious person in the room. It is, however, all about making a genuine connection with others, one-on-one or when addressing a group. EP is also about operating from a place of deep awareness and presence- your true north- with conviction and caring. Certain qualities, traits and skills demonstrate that a leader has executive presence.

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Mindfulness Over Multi-Tasking

A five-week trip to Australia a few years ago left a lasting impact on my life in so many unpredictable ways.
During the adventure, which was funded as a cultural exchange by Rotary International, I was fortunate to stay in 11 different homes to experience life as an Aussie.  One of my most important takeaways from the sojourn was to learn how different the Australian relationship with time and with work are compared to ours in the U.S.

Research has shown us that when we multi-task it takes us 25 percent longer to accomplish a task. That’s right… instead of getting more done in a short period of time, multi-takings, doing two or more things at once, actually lengthens the time that it takes to complete something.

Think about it. You are working away on an email when you remember that you forgot to pull the file for your next meeting. So, you stop working on the email, go over to the filing cabinet, find the file, return with the file to your desk, only to sit down and say to yourself, “What was I doing?  Oh, yeah, I remember now.”  You now have to re-read your half-composed email before finishing and sending it. You know in your gut that you aren’t accomplishing as much as you could.  You secretly wonder what is wrong with you and why you can’t get all of this work finished.

The Aussies would say, “No worries, Mate!” and invite you slow down and do one thing at a time. Also called mindfulness, it is focusing on being present, really, really present, with the one task that you are trying to complete or the one thing that you are doing.

Have you ever had the experience of being so fully engaged and present in a project that you lost all track of time? This is the opposite of multi-tasking- that crazy randomness of doing several things at once.

I learned from my Australian friends that they do what they can do at this moment and they do not worry about the rest. And they do this moment-by-moment.  This results in a more relaxed and easy going demeanor. They experience less stress.

The Australians also know and understand the value of “taking a break, Mate.” read more


New Year, New You! Revving Up Your Resolutions

New Year New YouIt’s the New Year. A time to celebrate. A time to visualize our future. A time to wish about our hopes and dreams. A time to sow the seeds of intention and resolve to use this new year as a chance to wipe the slate clean, turn to the next chapter of our life, grow and improve, and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. 

Setting resolutions at the New Year is an old tradition for people in the Western hemisphere.  Resolutions are goals, intentions and new habits that we want to integrate to help us have a happy, healthy and prosperous life moving forward. Turning the calendar page and leaping forward into the New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the past and chart our course for the future. 

How many times have you heard yourself saying, “I am going to lose 10 lbs. this year” or “I’m going to exercise more this year.”  It’s almost as if our brains are hardwired to set lofty goals for ourselves during this time of winter hibernation.   

Armed with new goals on index cards or pasted to our bathroom mirror, we start off strong, determined that THIS time it will be different. We will nail our resolutions. And then about two weeks into our new habit we create a little speed bump: We oversleep and are running late, preventing us from eating breakfast; or our late afternoon work meeting lasted really late, stopping us from going to the gym. Simply put, life happens! And even the best of our intentions get derailed.  

Making resolutions at the beginning of a new year is a really good thing to do. Whats the magic bullet to keep your resolutions revved up and moving forward? I have a few suggestions: 

  1.  Limit the number of New Years resolutions to only one.  In this highly distracted, tech-driven and modern time it is really hard to focus and adding a bunch of goals will only set you up for failure. Instead, choose one area of your life that is your priority for the upcoming year and set one intention for making a solid and successful change.

  2. Give yourself a gold star. Do you remember how delicious it felt to receive a little gold star from your first grade teacher as a reward for doing something well? The feel of the gold foil and smell of the glue on the back of the star are etched into our memories forever and conjure up amazing feelings of success. Use this brain-based memory to reward yourself for executing your resolution every day. Resolutions are new habits and research tells us that it takes over 30 days of doing the same thing to create a new habit. Seeing your stickers or gold stars on a calendar as a measure of your progress will keep you focused and motivated.
  3. Get a support buddyScientists have discovered that we are much more likely to be successful with new habits when we have the support of others. Sharing your intentions with an accountability friend who will hold your feet to the fire or a group of people who can cheer you on across the finish line, exponentially increases your chances of keeping your resolutions and establishing new habits in your life.

With these simple tips, setting and keeping your new year’s resolutions will help you Lead Well, Live Well and Do Well on your path of success.   

© Rita Perea, 2018.  All rights reserved.  


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