LinkedIn for CEOs: Don’t Be Lonely at the Top

In my LinkedIn coaching practice, showing senior executives, in diverse industries, in all sized firms, how to really expound on their value prop using LinkedIn, I find a hesitancy to rhapsodize on “Why I do what I do. And how I do it.”

It’s that small voice in the back of your head that we had pounded into our upbringing thatmarc1 says “Don’t write that about yourself-you’ll sound ego-centered.”

For the CEOs I coach, my job is to get them to convey how much they have to share with others. Their rise to the top is full of rich material to convey. But that small voice interferes.

CEOs: rise above it, but do it now.

You have surmounted obstacles and impediments and found a way to make success out of challenge. You have stared a problem in the face and recognized an opportunity. You have seized the control of a runaway and steered it into stability.

In your company you are looked upon as the day-to-day artist magically performing that which is unpleasant for others, wise and brave enough to tackle the continual challenges for which your staff relies on you–with their livelihoods in your hands: their mortgages, college tuition, retirement. Yours as well. No small undertaking.

In your firm you are expected to see the future and bring about change to meet the vision you possess. The board, the C-suite, the directors, the managers, down to the clerks: you captain them to “row the boat in the same direction.” The charted passage is fraught with obstacles as you head into the horizon. Midstream adjustments may be needed, but still you envision safe arrival at the destination. No small undertaking.

Yet, so many CEOs don’t have LinkedIn profiles. Or if they do, they are bare-bones, like old outdated resumes.

Here’s the incongruity I see: you as CEO have so much to teach from your past experience and actions, converted to present skills and thoughts, but you don’t take the time to show others how you got there and provide today’s educational benefit from your corrective actions.

You don’t think LinkedIn works well until you are on the other side of the equation, seeking your next right CEO position. Then you need LinkedIn. The scramble starts and you need to show why you are the right candidate to recruiters, colleagues, anyone who can refer you to the open position.

As one client advised me from his experience, you start calling in the chips to connect on LinkedIn to the right people, for their rich network referrals, for intelligence on positions that may be open(ing). Yet many of your fellow CEOs aren’t on LinkedIn, use it infrequently, or worse, not at all. They think they don’t need LinkedIn (right now). Now you need LinkedIn, the immediacy gnawing at you.

So, CEO readers: the time to make the investment on LinkedIn is now, not pend it to “later” or let it suffice, barebones, like an old resume. When in your career did you truly satisfy yourself, or the others who depend on you, with the minimum to get by?

Yes, “stuff” keeps getting in the way: phone calls, emails, meetings, interviews, small departmental fires to put out, and then there’s family situations. Name the next distractive excuse. Do you operate your business dealings in that manner, letting distractions keep you from the goal? Likely not. You are CEO material.

The opportunity to convey the wisdom of your actions and the skillset you have acquired has never been greater. You just have to want to place it into words. And video. or any of the other media of communication on LinkedIn (such as a LinkedIn Post like this).

You should fully renovate your LinkedIn profile and use it to communicate with other professionals who can learn from you.

You recognize an investment will pay dividends down the road, perhaps when you least expect it. Don’t wait until you are a job seeker to use LinkedIn. Start the process now. Designate the right time to amending your LinkedIn profile, section-by-section, during a self-appointed period of quiet thinking time, in a neutral place, with no outside interference. Like the way you prepare for a presentation or a board meeting.  You are after all presenting yourself to the toughest, yet most rewarding audience ever: your peer business professionals.

Invest and reap. Now.

Originally posted to LinkedIn by Marc Halpert

Marc W. Halpert (CLAS ’77) is a “multi-preneur,” having started 3 companies, all of which he continues to operate. His third company “Connect2Collaborate” spreads his LinkedIn and networking evangelism worldwide to train and coach others to better explain their brand and positioning on their LinkedIn profile pages.


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