6 Strategies to Keep Your Executive Leadership Happy

AdminAssist December 17, 2020
8-minute read

Whether you have a Board of Directors, an advisory board, or simply executive leaders who aren’t familiar with the day-to-day tasks of the organization, it’s important to keep these high-powered professionals happy. They have years of experience, and their time is valuable. If they feel like you’re not taking their advice seriously, they might skip town and leave you and your company behind.

As the year comes to an end, it’s a good time to focus on keeping these people happy. Here are six strategies that will help you and your agency strengthen your relationship with leadership. Apply these to your final team meeting of the year, or start 2021 by implementing these strategies. With a bit of appreciation, organization, and curiosity, you can turn around even the most apathetic board members and executives. Here’s what you need to know.


1 - Defend Your Decisions

A strong leader can command respect just through the confidence of their speech. Justify your decisions to leaders with conviction. Explain why you made that decision, and bring data to support yourself. Don’t forget to make the business case for your decision. If you need to prepare some notes in advance, do so. 

Ultimately, your board or C-suite needs to feel that someone has a handle on the situation. You should speak up and show them that you put thought and research into your decisions. People respect strong decision-makers, and your confidence can go a long way toward convincing them that you’ve made the right choices. 

Of course, you still need to stay open to their feedback and suggestions. But don’t start the meeting on a tentative note. Come with your understanding of the situation and share your knowledge with the leaders in the room. 


group of people sitting near table


2 - Present Them with Unfiltered Data

People like to see the data with their own eyes. This way, they can trust you haven’t made any edits or adjustments so it looks like the company is performing better than it is. Don’t be afraid to share raw data with your leadership. Of course, make sure it’s easy to interpret. It shouldn’t be sloppy or unintelligible. But don’t leave out any information and provide as much context as necessary.

Partially, this builds trust with your executive leadership. But it also allows them an unvarnished opportunity to draw their own conclusions and make recommendations, which could be invaluable to your agency.

This also includes first-hand information from frontline workers. They may want to read unedited interviews with salespeople, managers, and receptionists. This person-to-person, qualitative data can help them form a well-rounded picture of the organization, in addition to the facts and figures of financial reports.


3 - Lay Out the Specific Options

Whenever you meet with the board or executive leaders of the agency, be clear about how you see the next year and five years of the company. You should clearly lay out the options, with the pros and cons that you anticipate, and then ask for their opinions. People need to be asked for their wisdom. 

The first step is to share the raw data. Your second step is to frame the problem correctly so that leadership can successfully apply their skills to a very narrowly defined problem area. That’s the best way to use their time and energy. 

Defining several options for the future is the best way to keep executive leadership happy. This shows them that you’ve done the work ahead of time. It doesn’t force them to wade through different scenarios. It also allows them to contribute their expertise in a timely and specific fashion so that you can have a great 2021, thanks to their advice.


focused diverse coworkers discussing business project in office


4 - Keep Them in the Loop All Year

If you can master the fine art of sending monthly emails to your leadership with a top-level update, then you’ll be well on your way to establishing a great relationship with them. With regular updates, they won’t be shocked by anything in the year-end meetings. No one likes to be hit out of the blue with surprising information or a data dump without any context.

Monthly updates work best when they are kept brief. Combine a short amount of text with visuals in a 1-2 page document that gives an overview of finances as well as the achievements of each department. This type of communication can help leadership stay in touch with the daily activities of the company. They can even use these updates to refresh their memory and discover trends ahead of a year-end meeting.


5 - Create a Single Hub for Communication

Whether you find a liaison to the board or hire an executive assistant, there should be a single person on staff who is responsible for overseeing communications with leadership. You could also consider launching a secure online page that houses updates. This hub could contain policies, documentation, and other relevant files in a single location. Not only is this more convenient for leadership, but it reduces the need for constant emails from them asking you where to find information that could be in a text, a Slack message, an email, or a Google Doc.

This also helps with continuity. If someone needs to leave the board or step away, and a committee still needs to make a decision in their absence, an online hub allows anyone to step into their shoes and get up to date quickly. 

The other major benefit is remote governance. Choose a hub that can store files as well as host secure meetings. This allows leadership to tune in from anywhere in the world. If you’re bringing in new voices to diversify your board, an online hub can help with onboarding. In 2019, women made up almost half, or 46%, of new board directors for S&P 500 companies. Your agency should be on par or excelling these statistics.


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6 - Learn How to Run Great Meetings

Running a great meeting is an undervalued skill, but anyone can learn it with practice. This means the administrative tasks, like preparing the agenda and sending out calendar invites. However, it also means the tone and tempo of the meeting itself. Start with a few minutes of casual conversation. Check in about how people are doing in their personal lives. Keep things positive. 

When it’s time to start the meeting, make sure everyone has the agenda and that all technology is working properly. Don’t let pauses continue for too long. Speak to people by name, rephrasing the question so they feel prepared to answer it. Ask for consensus when appropriate, but don’t be afraid, to sum up, and move on if you’ve gotten enough information for the current moment. 

Implement these six strategies and you can build a strong relationship with your agency’s board or executive leadership. If you really want to impress them, pitch them on outsourcing your accounting to AdminAssist and show them how much money and time you could save your agency.