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Executive Presence: You’ll Know It When You See It

Opportunities in senior level healthcare information technology management will be increasing over the next few years.  Not only are a large number of baby boomer senior executives creeping to retirement, but CEO turnover is expected to peak at 25% by 2015, which frequently leads to CIO turnover. In the past, healthcare IT was a tool to support corporate strategies.  Increasingly, IT is becoming the corporate strategy for more progressive healthcare organizations. This has opened many doors for middle managers in healthcare IT to move into positions of more responsibility.  The ability to advance your career to the next level often relies not only on your accomplishments, but also with how you present yourself; your executive presence.    In many cases, executive presence is a deciding factor for progression into the executive suite.

The best executives are those who have strong presence on all fronts: a powerful executive presence reflecting self-confidence, skill, and charisma.  Does your body language project an image of an experienced, confident, leading executive?  Remember that fifty-five percent of communication is through body language and eye contact and thirty-eight percent is vocal including pitch, speed, tone, and volume of voice.  Only seven percent of communication involves actual words and what you say.  But more important than what you say is how you say it.  A lack of awareness regarding individual presence is why many of those on the ladder to the C-suite don’t become part of the true inner circle.  Individuals who possess excellent presence are consistent in recognizing there is no downtime when it comes to keeping the shine on an executive brand: one off-color joke, one too many drinks at a reception or one melt-down in a crisis can damage your reputation, sometimes irreparably.

Like many other skills critical for success, executive presence can be developed.  Look around at the next meeting you attend and objectively evaluate the attendees for executive presence.  Who impresses you and why?  Understanding what executive presence means to you is the first step in building your brand.


In part two of the article, we will talk more about how to develop your executive presence.  Stay tuned!