Building visibility for career growth
So, you just missed that coveted promotion? Were you expecting a higher performance rating this appraisal season, after all that hard work through the year? Visibility matters as much as efforts do, if one wants to grow in today’s corporate world
I have encountered numerous colleagues and fellow professional who profess the clichéd “I believe in hard work and I don’t need to advertise myself” as a solid excuse for missing the bus. Fair enough. If hard work is what matters to you, you will continue doing that for the rest of your life – working HARD! Let’s face it – It’s not enough for the powers that be to see you work hard. It is important for them to see you work the way they want you to, if you have to grow any more. And that is the exact reason I have always professed ‘Purposeful visibility’ as an important strategy for career growth. And it does not matter if you are a beginner in your organization or if you aspire to be the next CEO. Visibility matters!
So, how does one build purposeful visibility for career growth? Here are some things you might want to consider:
- PURPOSEFUL NETWORKING: Look at the people you surround yourself with and reflect on what are the subjects of your interactions with them. The first step to building visibility is to develop and sustain a network of people who can be your potential ‘word of mouth’ agents or direct benefactors. It becomes crucial to identify people who can appreciate the work that you do and discover ways to build relationships with them. These need not always be people with positions of power. Even your peers and juniors who are engaged in strategic projects or roles can be a great bet! Visibility matters!
- MINDFUL MARKETING: After you have identified and started to spend time with people who matter, it is important to talk about what you do to critical audience. Spare no opportunity to highlight your efforts, projects, innovations and contributions at every forum you are a part of. Of course, it goes without saying that this has to be done very tactfully and sincerely. The best way to publicise what you do is by sincerely helping others achieve their goals. People will be appreciative of your efforts if what you do helps them achieve their goals. So, saying something like “Hey, I am working on something that might be help you in what you just said. My team and I are developing this prototype that can act as an ideal input and data source for your report and analysis” may sound better than simply making a big deal of what you do, if it’s not going to help someone. Visibility matters!
- BUDDY WITH THE BOSS: Your boss will not help you in your goals if you don’t help them enough in achieving their goals. There are no two ways about it! Its universal knowledge that the supervisor’s success is measured on the combined successes of the individual team members. So, if you are not aligning your efforts to what your boss needs and are NOT making a big noise about it, you are doing a discredit to them…and to yourself. Spending enough business time with your manager, suggesting futuristic ideas that will make their life better and proactively seeking feedback on your performance and behavior will build greater trust with your boss. If there is one person who is potent enough to make or break your growth prospects, it is your boss…and I don’t need to tell you that! I have tried to be rebel and paid a worthy price. Visibility matters!
- PERSUASIVE PR: ‘If you don’t show it, they will not see it’ should be the mantra. It is important to leverage as many publicity opportunities as possible to your advantage. Many corporates today have town halls, intranet, newsletters, regional publications, rewards and recognitions, annual days and many more opportunities to showcase your talents and contributions. Never miss an opportunity. Use your strengths to your advantage. I love to write and back in the day, I used to use opportunities to write in the company newsletters and let people know at every available opportunity. I used to jump at any opportunity to address an audience so that I could make myself visible to the powers that be. It helps in the short run and the long haul. These are some very people who have been instrumental in my growth as an entrepreneur too. Trust me, it never kills! Visibility matters!
Well the list of strategies can go and I am restricting myself to these four in the interest of brevity and appropriateness. There is nothing that can beat results as a measure of your performance. But think about all those times when someone else took the promotion from ‘right under your nose’ and your boss probably said, “We need to see more leadership material in you before promoting you to be a leader”. What your boss meant was definitely not that you lacked the qualification to be promoted but they did not see enough of it. Why? You did not show it! Clearly, visibility matters!
Think about all the people who will play a role in deciding your fate in the next appraisal season. How many of them have seen what you have done? What will they speak about your performance in those normalization meetings? If you do not have enough answers, you’ve probably not done enough to be ‘purposefully visible’. It’s never too late though. Start today and tomorrow will be a better day!
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