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How would you introduce yourself to a senior executive who is also your skip?

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Senior Application Scientist at Taro Community7 months ago

I work in a team of 10-12 application scientists. Our skip was the CTO of the company until a month ago. There has been a temporary reorg recently and our new skip is the SVP of product. I am assuming he is not aware of all the things we are working on (or particularly I am doing) except may be a few selected team highlights. I want to introduce myself and build a rapport for more fruitful interactions with the skip and the bigger product team in near future. Since everyone in our team (including our manager, CTO, new skip and most of the company) are all remote, I feel developing and cultivating such relationships requires extra effort.

And, in general, how would you start a conversation and build a relationship with engineers/scientists/executives in other teams with whom you might not have worked with yet but want to be in their network?



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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    A lot of the advice from David Pan in "How To Effectively Leverage Skip Level 1:1s" will apply, along with this discussion "What should I discuss in first 1:1 with my skip-level manager?"

    Here are a few things I'd add in your case:

    When you're interacting with executives, here's my candid advice on how to best take advantage of the relationship: show that you're high potential. The best thing you can do is (1) show that you're a strong performer by sharing your work and (2) propose project ideas or strategies you can lead.

    As a senior scientist, you're in a good position to get sponsorship from the executive (they wouldn't do this for someone too junior). Executives are always judging employees to see who they trust and who they can give more responsibility to.

    You're right that remote relationship building is harder. If you have the chance to visit the office or everyone coordinate an IRL offsite, I'd jump at that. See also the [Masterclass] How To Build Deep Relationships Quickly In Tech.

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    The Engineering Career Coach | Ex - Microsoft, Yahoo, SAP, Walmart
    7 months ago

    Navigating the corporate jungle, especially when you're aiming to connect with the higher-ups, is like playing chess on a board where the pieces move themselves. It's a blend of strategy, insight, and a dash of boldness.

    Here's a three-step tango for engaging with your new skip in a way that's as smooth as aged whiskey:

    1. The T-Style Introduction: Brevity with Depth

    • High-Level Overview: Initiate with a crisp, clear introduction. Think of it as your personal elevator pitch. Who are you? What's your role? But tailor this to resonate with the SVP's world. How does your work align with the broader product vision? Remember, you're not just a scientist; you're a piece of the puzzle that completes the bigger picture.
    • Ready to Dive Deep: While you keep the intro high-level, be prepared to plunge into the depths of your work. But here's the twist – only dive when prompted. This shows you're not just a talker, but a thinker, ready to engage on a deeper level when required.

    2. The Dance of Leading and Lagging Indicators: Know Your Rhythm

    • Understand What Makes an Impact: Before you step into this dance, know your moves. What are your team's leading indicators? These are your proactive pulses, the heartbeats of your projects that predict the health of your outcomes. They're usually nestled in your Key Results. Get these at your fingertips.
    • Communicate Your Impact: When you talk to your skip, lace your conversation with how your work influences these leading indicators. It's like saying, "Here's how I'm tuning the guitar before the concert begins." It shows foresight, planning, and an understanding of outcomes before they unfold.

    3. Sparking Curiosity: The Thoughtful Inquiry

    • Engage with Ideas: Here's where you flip the script. Instead of just talking about what you do, ask about what keeps the SVP up at night regarding lagging indicators. What are the pain points? What's not working?
    • Offer Solutions, Not Just Questions: As you discuss these, don't just nod and listen. Offer insights, maybe even tentative solutions. "I've noticed X lagging indicator. In my work with Y, I've found Z approach can sometimes turn the tide." This isn't just conversation; it's strategic engagement.

    Remember, building a rapport with a senior executive, especially in a remote setting, is like nurturing a plant. It needs regular attention, the right environment, and a bit of sunshine in the form of genuine interest and thoughtful communication. Be that person who's not just another name in the email list, but the one who brings value, insight, and a fresh perspective to the table.

    And as for branching out to other engineers, scientists, and executives – the same principles apply. Be brief yet deep, understand your impact, and engage with thoughtful, solution-oriented questions. It's about creating connections that are not just professional but intellectually stimulating.

    After all, in the grand corporate symphony, you want to be the note that's remembered, not just heard.