Thursday, August 26, 2010

Five Traits of Pivotal Contacts

Pivotal Contacts are thought leaders among their peers. They have developed deep subject matter expertise, have proven themselves in situations requiring a balanced approach between strategic vision and tactical execution, or simply have access to influential relationships.

They are commonly referred to as movers and shakers in a given role, company, vertical industry, or city. They are all rising stars and key influencers, and often lead the most critical projects within any company. They are highly thought of in board meetings, mentioned in industry trade publications, and make numerous appearances in industry forums.

They are always invited to speak at the company's off-site strategy session or cross-industry conferences for their unique best practices. They are published writers, authors, or subject matter authorities, and are considered pillars of their organization or industry.

Pivotal contacts are also often hubs in their chosen fields. Here are some other common traits:

Time - To pivotal contacts, time is a valuable asset and they don't like to waste it. You're not likely to see these people hanging out by the water cooler, chatting it up.

Execution - They are passionate about execution. Seldom will they get excited about a 100-page analysis of a challenge. They are much less interested in everything you know and much more intrigued by what they need to know to get things done.

Gatekeepers - They are protected by very capable gatekeepers. The old days of the cliche secretary are long gone. Today's executive administrators and administrative assistants are polished, well-educated, professional, well-paid, and very good at what they do. They take pride in being professional administrators and are focused on optimizing their executives' valuable resources.

Mutual Trust, Respect, and Value - They build relationships based on mutual trust, respect, and value. Often, the only source of access is through a referral by a trusted source. These include lieutenants inside the organization or highly-valued external advisors, but certainly those who have filtered out the time or resource wasters.

Private - It has been my experience that pivotal contacts are well-known, yet private individuals. You may hear of their accomplishments, but seldom about their personal lives - including their family matters, political views, or downtime interests.

Pivotal contacts are often one to two business stature levels above your current perceived reach. If you are a manager, for example, a pivotal contact could be a vice-president. If you are a director, they could be division presidents.

If you are a senior executive, pivotal contacts could include the CEO, board of directors, or SVP of the parent company. Pivotal contacts can also be peers in other departments or of a higher stature in other organizations such as private equity firms.

By : David_M._Nour

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