By Peter Jeff, Author
The Leadership Mints Series
Sitting ringside at a professional boxing match as a sportswriter you see the splatter of the blood on the canvass. You hear the grunts and groans. You wince at the pain in the eyes of the boxers. And you see ropes vibrating with a venom like a rattlesnake when a boxer is on the ropes.
You are THAT close to the action, even closer than those who pay $10,000 a seat to sit AROUND the ring albeit not exactly ringside. And there in the thick of the action a ringside viewer “gets a clearer and more comprehensive view of the infighting, something the home fan seldom gets (watching on television),” observed a long time boxing sportswriter.
So do those who sit ringside in the corporate arena — close enough to sit eye-to-eye with the Chief Executive Officer but yet far enough away to never have to risk going toe-to-toe. They become “consiglieri or the real advisors behind the throne,” notes David D’Alessandro, the former Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial Services in his book Executive Warfare.
Chances are you first became familiar with that job title — Consigliere– in the movie The Godfather. Robert Duvall’s character served as the trusted lawyer and confidant to the Corelone family.
The Consigliere 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.
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 are able to walk into the office of the CEO” without a moment’s notice and just glide by the assistant with or without an appointment.”That’s because those consiglieri have no personal career ax to grind and no personal agenda to pursue.
I enjoyed that kind of unfettered access to the Chief Executive Officer and other key decision makers in a billion -dollar plus company for nearly 20 years. Sitting ringside in the corporate arena, I saw up close and personal how leaders throughout the organization dealt with complexed problems from liability and compliance issues to employee engagement and media scrutiny that impacted the bottom line.
That access to the C-Suite, behind the scenes and in front of the cameras, inspired me to write three books on how leaders in various organizations in business, sports and politics think with clarity, listen with empathy and speak with civility.
Serving as a Consiglieri
My consiglieri credentials in particular and my outsider’s perspective in general helped me better evaluate how executive decision making in real-time affected employee response, customer attitudes and media scrutiny.
Had I earned my own key to the corporate suite, I would no doubt have developed a narrower perspective on leadership in the executive suite. And my books would be a variation on the same theme that others have chronicled from their own seat in the corporate suite.
After all, if you earn your own key to the executive suite you are expected to climb in the virtual corporate ring and fight for your department’s authority, budget control and policy execution.
You don’t take the time to take a look around –and outside– the ring. You don’t have the time to prepare for ALL the external factors that could affect your bottom line in the future. That’s where the consiglieri adds value in the corporate suite: detecting the blind spots that can doom a new product, venture or policy proposal and cutting through all the political posturing and grandstanding red tape.
Those who read The Leadership Mints Series get no key to the corporate suite — only a welcome mat — where the reader gets a broader view of leaders in the corporate ring. That view is then factored for greater application and understanding through the author’s experience as a former leadership development instructor in a corporate university and as a former college adjunct professor in public speaking.
And that broader more textured view gains even more viability from the author’s proven corporate experience in more readily connecting executive management with employees, stock holders, customers and the media to preserve and promote the bottom line and “establish mutually beneficial relationships” as the public relations profession defines itself. Developing “mutually beneficial relationships” always begins with a focus on research that enhances understanding and saves the reader time in having to read the more than 150 other leadership books and authors quoted throughout the 3-book The Leadership Mints Series.
For example In Thinking Like a Leader, With Clarity, insights from 82 other leadership books and authors are cited that add greater depth to the discussion.
In addition to the author’s penchant for research, readers benefit from the author’s engaging storytelling skills as a former newspaper reporter. Readers are entertained as much as educated with provocative chapter titles (called Mints) like Breaking Out of Perception Prison in Thinking Like a Leader. And readers get a behind-the-scenes look at celebrities like golf legend Jack Nicklaus and comedian Jackie Gleason that shines a surprising light on leading with clarity, empathy and civility.
When you read one of the three books in The Leadership Mints Series, you step on a welcome mat in the corporate suite and enjoy a more strategic and sustained profitable view of corporate leadership than from any corner office. I invite you to join me ringside in the corporate arena. Invest in a Leadership Mints Series book on Amazon.com.
Now it’s your turn. Let me learn from you. What are your thoughts on being or becoming a corporate consiglieri ?