Leslie Ungar, The Inner Brilliance of Electric Impulse, Inc.

Invisible To Invincible

Leslie’s Articles

Five Steps to Take You From Invisible to Invincible

Leadership requires presence. It requires presence everyday in every situation. Good things happen when leaders step up and lead. Bad things happen when they don’t. It really is that simple. So let’s look at a tale of two invisible CEO’s.

CEO #1
Nel was the invisible partner. He knew his contribution to the company was important. He liked to move under the radar screen, and believed that his low profile did not hinder his leadership.

He didn’t make a bad impression on you.
He just didn’t make any memorable impression.

Ten years into his work as a partner, he became president of a large industry
association. Now he could no longer be invisible. While he always believed that his leadership style was one of example, that style would not work with a membership that saw him on an infrequent basis.

The opportunity to introduce oneself comes to each incoming president at their installation. How would Nel meet this challenge?

In one twelve-minute speech Nel went from invisible to invincible.
How did he do it?

Here are the five not-so-easy steps:

  • Surrender
  • Collaborate
  • Push self
  • Partner in the process
  • Practice, practice, practice

1. Surrender
You have to surrender and trust to whom you surrender. In order to push yourself to your next level of excellence you need to surrender to what you do not know. When I say surrender, I mean that you need to be willing to forget what you think you know and how you think a speech should sound. You have to be willing to say things and do things that heretofore you may have not felt comfortable doing outside your office.

2. Collaborate
Have you noticed what happens when a TV show or movie wins an Emmy or Oscar? Not one or two or three people go up for the award . . . ten people flock to the stage. Writing is a collaborative effort. You can’t do it in a vacuum. Nor can you hire a speechwriter and expect them to write a speech that sounds like you. The more you collaborate, the better the finished product.

3. Push self
You are successful because you pushed yourself in your work. It’s no different in giving a career changing presentation. You need to push yourself in both the content and delivery. You may be tempted to think once the speech is done, you are done. You are so wrong.

4. Partner in the process
There are many things you can do as CEO. The journey from invisible to invincible is one that requires a partner. You need someone to hold up the mirror and give you an honest reflection.

5. Practice, practice, practice
You need to be done in time to practice each line. Do you want to emphasize the first word or the last word? You need to memorize the intro and conclusion. Practice in the room you will be presenting in, practice in your bathroom

CEO #2

Invisibility can take place at any time.

Bill was a CEO. Not young in years, but young in CEO experience.
His company was nationwide and he liked to get out and see clients and offices around the country. Even when he was present, he liked to hide behind his laptop.

The CFO orchestrated a coup to take over the company. If you were CEO, would an officer working under you on the organizational chart, have the access to orchestrate a take-over? Yes, the CFO behaved badly. But the CEO’s invisibility led to the company being in-trouble.

The same five steps would apply to Bill:

1. Surrender
Bill needed to surrender to what he didn’t know about leadership and executive presence. Rather than hiding out in offices around the country.

2. Collaborate
Bill needed to collaborate with an objective, external source.
People inside your organization have an agenda, no matter how close you think you are to them.

3. Push self
Bill knows the company and the product. He needed to push himself to learn skills he may not have liked or liked to implement.

4. Partner in the process
Add accountability to the process. A partner adds accountability in the implementation process.

5. Practice, practice, practice
Practice being less invisible in meetings, phone consultations, in one-to-one meetings with executive members. Your mantra could be, what could I do to enlarge my presence?

Nel’s speech received a standing ovation. What is more important is that Nel positioned himself as the industry’s leader as a result of learning how important the communication process is to a leader.

Nel and Bill faced different challenges. The important thing is that they, like you, remember that the journey from Invisible to Invincible is 5 hard steps.