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Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success

We have all heard the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. That is true to this day, even with business casual becoming more and more casual. You are a brand. Whether you realize it or not, you are selling yourself with each and every interaction. It takes Executive Presence to get your dream job, promotion or land that big deal. Executive Presence is difficult to define; you just know it when you see it. Fortunately, Hewlett cracks the code for us. She believes there are three pillars to executive presence: gravitas, communication and appearance. Expanding on each pillar she offers entertaining examples from political figures to actors. She talks about successful approaches as well as the pitfalls we all fall prey to.

This is one of my favorite topics, and a new favorite book. Each year I do 360 degree evaluations for several executives. I often include Executive Presence in the areas of development. It seems to be a weak area for people as they move to higher levels. No matter how fantastic you are at what you do, how others perceive you can propel you to success or leave you stymied. Hewlett’s book is a must read for anyone looking to get an edge in a competitive landscape.


Sylvia Ann Hewlett


Harper Business



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