Expert's Panel

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    How do I best approach the CEO to support my product line when executive management support of my division is low?

  1. I'm not sure it's best to approach that person. There is the concept of line and staff. The staff people are concerned about one sort of thinking—pleasing the shareholders, making brand name identity, financing the company—things that staff people think about. Then there is line and line people are concerned about a particular line, manufacturing, taking it to market, etc. Whoever is at the top of the food chain for that line is not going to like you, and it is probably not going to help things for you to go over that person's head. I don't think it is a good thing.
  2. I agree with everything that was just said. But, I think you need to analyze the situation immediately and figure out why the support for this division is low. What's the product all about? What's the context of the company? Is the company going one-way and this division another? If you find out that this division can be a viable part of this company's future, then you get corporate management's attention through performance—having successes that get noticed. People on top will then see that it is worth their attention. I don't think you will every talk to the CEO or top management—it is a performance thing. Identify whether or not performance will be consistent with the company interest and direction before you go down that track.