The Power of a Title

I recently attended a meeting with a client regarding a large unified communications opportunity where the provider brought out the "Big Guns" to come discuss why their sliced bread was better than the next guy. The presentation was well done, the discussion lively and engaging, and the provider is probably a good fit for the client. 

You want to know what the clients discussed the most in the debrief? The top dog in the room and the title on his business card "Chief Revenue Officer". Comments included, "...I thought he was here to perform an audit." and "Everyone check your wallets to ensure the revenue guy didn't grab them." Not exactly the impression I think the CRO wanted to make.

Wikipedia defines the Chief Revenue Officer as: a corporate officer responsible for all revenue generation processes in an organization. In this role, a CRO is accountable for driving better integration and alignment between all revenue-related functions, including marketing, sales, customer support, pricing, and revenue management.

That sounds like a tough and very important job. It sounds like a great idea to have one. To the client, the title sounds like you are coming for their money.

Juxtapose that with a title that can be a conversation starter in a positive fashion. I have always liked the title "Chief Evangelist". It's interesting without pigeon-holing and leads you to ask more about it. My friend, Brian Burkhart of Square Planet, has the title "Chief Word Guy". A title that makes you say, "tell me more." When you meet Brian, you will soon come to learn that he is in fact the Chief Word Guy, he's better with them than most and he will help you with them too.

The bottom line is that a title does have power, it tells the world who you are and what you do for the company that is on your card, your role, your level, and what you can or cannot get done in your organization, whether you want it to or not. Be thoughtful when going against the grain and you may have a conversation starter, otherwise it may make sense to stick with the ones that everyone already knows.  

Dave Dyson is a Junto Alumnus, and CEO/co-founder of Eclipse Telecom, Junto I