The proliferation of professional transparency is creating new ways for individuals to develop an opinion about you. Information sharing and your reputation are now inextricably combined. You can share information about yourself in endless ways (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging). Most of these do not even require you to be physically present. Individuals that you have never met and may never meet can find information about you faster than ever.
Your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization AND your industry.
You could spend all of your time being visible within your organization at the expense of industry visibility. However, when you’re only visible in your organization, you miss opportunities for professional development and opportunities to build richer relationships with industry colleagues.
Your desire to attend meetings and events with industry associations probably feels like a dream. The ability to attend during your workday, after your workday ends, or on the weekend is likely compromised in the following ways:
Your ego and inner critic play a big role in how you participate at work.
You may not realize it, but you tell yourself hundreds of stories every day. I don’t mean stories that you share with others about what happened to you when you were a toddler, in college, or at the mall last week. I’m referring to the dozens of stories that you tell yourself every day to explain why something bad happened or why another person is behaving poorly. These stories come from your ego and inner critic.
Participating with a Purpose
“Interacting with others” is comprised of ways in which you can raise your visibility “one-to-one” with others. Unlike interaction, “participating with a purpose” is focused on “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues. Participating is comprised of activities where you raise your visibility when many of your colleagues are present.
Coming next, we’ll take a look at participating purposefully. You may be wondering what the difference is between interacting and participating. In the Raise Your Visibility & Value model, interacting is defined as “one-to-one” interactions with colleagues, while participating is defined as “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues.
It is important to understand the difference between an interaction and a relationship as you work to raise your visibility in your organization and industry. I defined interacting as “the degree to which you engage one-to-one with colleagues.” While interactions are one way to raise your visibility, it is inevitable that some interactions will begin to build a relationship.
Relationship is one of those words that we use often, yet we find it hard to define when asked. Consider the following as a definition for “relationship:”
There is no doubt that networking is a very important activity. Networking is the primary type of interaction for individuals looking for a job or who are self-employed. By focusing on networking, these individuals build relationships that allow them to make progress in finding their next opportunity, whether that opportunity is a job or a sale.
The degree to which you interact with others is similar to the nature versus nurture philosophy that we hear or read about regarding human development. In scholarly articles published on this topic, nature typically refers to characteristics you have inherited. These characteristics may include hair color, vulnerability to disease, and personality preferences. Nurture typically refers to characteristics you have developed through interaction with your environment. These characteristics may include language, social perspectives, and opinions.