Championing Your Consigliere

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to become more persuasive. Reading time: 3:19

       a black laptop computer with a red megaphoneYou’ve got a good idea. Now, consider presenting that idea with all the creative flair it took to develop it.

       Instead of simply  pitching it directly to the decision-maker, lateral it. Hand it off to a colleague –your champion–who has less baggage to carry into that decision-making meeting.

      And with no dog in the race,  your champion is likely to get farther– faster –than you.

     executive warfare

      Yes. Your Champion. One who speaks on behalf of another.

       Think of that champion as your consigliere (Italian for counselor.)

       You’ll recall meeting the  Consigliere in the movie The Godfather. Robert Duvall’s character served as the trusted lawyer and confidant to the Corelone family.

        The Consigliere — a.k.a. champion — often had to referee internal and external conflict without getting killed in the process. He or she stayed above the fray primarily because he or she stood on the sidelines, never in line for one of the line positions to run the family.

     And those champions in your organization serve as servant leaders to leaders. They become “consiglieri or the real advisors behind the throne,” notes former CEO David D’Alessandro in his book Executive Warfare.

     Those Consiglieri  (plural of Consigliere) are often staff leaders in human resources, public relations, investor relations and the law department, D’Alessandro observes who have “unfettered access to the boss.”  They have no ax to grind. No personal agenda to pursue beyond their current role.

              I enjoyed that kind of ‘unfettered access” to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar global company for nearly 20 years. And I was honored when a colleague of mine at that company tabbed me a champion – a Consigliere– “one who acts or speaks on behalf of a person or a cause,” according to a dictionary definition of the word “champion.”

     In fact,  GRIP BOOK COVER I wrote Get a GRIP on your Dream my leadership book on Goal-setting, Risk-making, Initiating and Persisting– or GRIP for short–only after a colleague called me his “champion” a.k.a. his Consigliere.

     I called out the leadership credentials necessary in championing others on the Acknowledgement page in the book that took me three years to write:

        What is a champion? We usually think of champions as those sports heroes
or business people who claim king-of-the-hill status with their outstanding talents.

      But a champion is so much more.  A champion is:

                “One who acts or speaks
on behalf of a person or a cause.”

        My friend and colleague, Bill Dombrowski,
shared that definition with me after
I had helped him achieve a goal,
after I had championed his effort.

      Bill had that definition printed on a piece of cardboard for me
and I pinned it up on my office wall.
I didn’t know it at the time but that gesture planted the seed
that later blossomed into this book
(Get a GRIP On Your Dream ISBN 0-938716-63-8.

Bill recognized something in me I hadn’t –a penchant
to help the cause of others, to champion their efforts, and to
help bring out the best in them. Thank you Bill.

      My hope in writing this book is to champion your goals;
to champion you in building your business or profession,
in enhancing the quality of your life, and in getting a grip on
your personal leadership and your dream.

           Today, I am still all about championing others by serving these Leadership Mints every Tuesday and Friday to inspire your own continuous improvement as a leader.

          Now as we venture into our third year together in leadership blogging –and after serving you more than 325 Leadership Mints—I hope you will continue to savor these bite-sized ideas to freshen your bottom -line thinking, ideas that you may even lateral to others on your behalf to the top of your organization.

          With your own Consigliere. At your service.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Champion the ideas of others to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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