The Executive 4×4 Formula

| July 31, 2013

After a very long hiatus, I’m back . . .

For nearly 20 years, I have spent every day either as an executive or around executives. I say this with love in my heart … there is one thing I’ve learned … executives are big babies: They have huge egos, want everything broken down into bite size ideas, and have the attention span of an amoeba.

Seriously, executives have to balance and filter a million different things at one time. As a resource to them, we have a responsibility to prepare a story that is appropriate, compelling, and easy to understand.  Toward this goal, I’ve created what I call the “Executive 4×4 Formula” for telling a story.

The system is pretty straight forward:









What problem are you trying to solve?
The process starts with a problem statement.  You should be able to distill the problem into a single, articulate sentence. Again, simple is the key. If you have to spend a lot of time explaining your problem statement, you’re probably on the wrong path.  Also, be sure your problem statement is truly hitting the root cause and not a symptom.

With a compelling problem statement, executives care about hearing four things:
1.    What are you going to do to address the problem?
2.    When are you going to address the problem?
3.    How much will it cost?
4.    What value is going to be delivered to the company?

To answer the value question, you have to think like an executive. In their minds, there are only four things that matter:
1.    Will you make money/earn revenue or profit?
2.    Will you save money?
3.    Will you defer costs?
4.    Will you keep me out of jail?

It’s just that simple. Keep your story focused, make sure your issue is truly one that needs the attention of your executive team, and then tell the basic Executive 4×4 Formula story. You’ll be amazed how well your next meeting will go.

Good luck!

Over the next several posts, I’ll be breaking down each of the 4×4 questions to provide greater insights into how to formulate and master your story.

Category: Education, Marketing/Branding Strategy

About Marc LeShay: I am a strategic consultant helping people find clarity in chaos View author profile.

Comments are closed.