CEO shopping tips

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CEO-to-CEO gift giving, a $17 billion industry, can be tricky business; here’s what one gift-giving consultant has to say about the matter.

“Gift giving is an important element of an executive’s skill set, particularly on a CEO-to-CEO basis, but most business leaders don’t have the time to learn the intricacies of high-level corporate gift giving – especially international gift giving – and then do the necessary legwork,” said Melinda Crews, a consultant who advises senior executives on gift-giving programs that advance their business goals. “And frankly, most are probably a little afraid of the task.”

She has these five suggestions for CEOs as the holiday season looms:

  • Accept the fact that you are clueless about gift giving. Stick to what you do best, running the company.
  • Delegate – but not downward. Just because you task it out doesn’t mean that it will be done properly.
  • Don’t be cheap, but don’t overspend. Make sure the perceived value of the gift is consistent with the intent.
  • Understand what you are trying to accomplish. Why are you doing it? To cement a relationship or just check a name off a list. Make a sincere effort to mitigate unintended consequences – conflicts of interest, boardroom bias or inappropriateness.
  • Cover your bases. Does the gift conform to all existing national and international gift-giving regulations? Does it comply with your own corporate branding requirements?