In today’s “get-it-done-yesterday” business environments, tenure is shortening and relationships are becoming shallower. It’s no longer enough when an employee exceeds expectations. Herminia Ibarra, the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD), reflected on this topic in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “With competition fierce and the business climate changing rapidly, companies are telling their leaders that it’s no longer enough to deliver results in their individual departments, or over the short-term.”
As recently discussed, the quantity of work produced and the quality of your work are keys to creating your good reputation. Let’s face it, if you produce a low quantity of work and the work you do produce is low quality, your days are numbered. Even the best attitude and behavior will not offset low quantity and poor quality.
What If My Boss Thinks I’m Looking for a Job?
When you work to raise your visibility in your industry, many of you may feel you’re at risk of creating an impression with your boss that you’re looking for a new job opportunity. Many industry events are advertised as networking events where you meet colleagues from within your industry. Your boss may feel that you’ll meet a new colleague who will lure you away to a new opportunity with promises of wealth and fame.
It is not enough that you are highly accessible to your colleagues; your colleagues must also benefit from the interaction. After all, what is the point of being highly accessible if the interaction does not benefit your colleagues?
Another reason networking and performance appraisals are becoming increasingly ineffective for employed business professionals is pace or how quickly you are expected to change. You are being asked to do more with less, and do more, faster.
Frequency refers to how often change occurs. There was a time when organizations were proud of their stability and consistency. Acquisitions were infrequent, and words like “right-sizing” and “down-sizing” were not in the dictionary. Your job description had not changed for years.
After working in large corporations for twenty years and providing leadership coaching for ten years, I have come to a conclusion that virtually every organizational leader needs coaching at some point in his/her career.
This is not speculation – this is evidence that I have accumulated through my own experiences and the experiences of my clients. Whether my client is new or experiencing a change to his/her role, building a new relationship with his/her boss, or struggling is his/her role, all of them need a coach.
Having a good attitude, demonstrating good behaviors, and acting with integrity are only part of the reputation equation. In today’s fast-paced organizations, it is almost assumed that the work you produce is good. Even colleagues who demonstrate a good attitude and good behaviors may find themselves in job jeopardy if they are not producing good work.
Production is comprised of the following categories:
- Quantity. The volume of the work that you do meets or exceeds the expectations of those for whom the work is being produced.
- Quality. The nature of work that you do meets or exceeds the expectations of those for whom the work is being produced.
It should not be surprising to you that doing what you do with a high degree of quantity and quality is an important part of a good reputation. Quantity and quality are similar to what you say and do in that quantity and quality need to be in balance. When quantity and quality are not in balance, the impact to your reputation is not positive. More on that in the coming weeks.
Your reputation is built on a never ending series of choices that you make, every minute of every day. And in today’s transparent and frenetic organizations, your choices are seen by more of your colleagues, and faster, than ever before.
Today’s ever-changing organizations demand that you be in charge of your reputation. Every Facebook post you choose to generate, sound bite you choose to create, and decision you choose to make will potentially be seen or heard by thousands of colleagues in your organization and industry. Your choices are your reputation. In my work with my clients and during my career, I have observed that reputations are influenced by four areas – articulation, attitude, behavior, and production.
More about each influence coming soon.
There are certainly things you cannot choose. You can’t choose not to get multiple sclerosis. You can’t choose to win a million dollars in a lottery. You can’t choose someone to love you. However, if you were to list all of the experiences in your life and weigh each of them equally, you would find over 98% of your experiences result from a choice you made.
At first, you probably don’t feel that 98% of your activities were the result of a choice. This is because you do not realize how many choices you make every day, but by the time you have left your home each morning, you are a choice-making machine.
You make so many choices, you may not even realize that some things that you did today were a choice. Or you may believe that a decision you made today was not up to you. Many of my clients find themselves in a state commonly called “victim mode.” They believe that the outcome to a situation in which they had a voice was not up to them. When you are in “victim mode,” you abdicate your ability to make a choice. Whatever the reason, you believe that you did not have a choice when, in fact, you did.
So what, then, influences a reputation?