Your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization and industry. You could spend all of your time being visible within your organization at the expense of industry visibility. However, when you are only visible in your industry, you miss opportunities for professional development and opportunities to build richer relationships with industry colleagues. Over time, you feel less connected, less active, and less relevant. Or, you could spend all of your time being visible within your industry at the expense of organization visibility. However, when you are invisible in your organization, you miss opportunities for advancement, and your voice is not sought out to help shape decisions and strategies. Over time, you feel less recognized, less engaged, and less relevant.
Maximum visibility resides in a combination of organization and industry visibility.
The blend of organization and industry visibility differs from person to person. Whether the time you spend raising your visibility in your organization and industry is divided 50%/50% or 90%/10%, the percentage of time you spend cultivating your organization and industry visibility is significantly less important than cultivating both.
If you are like most of my clients, you spend little time raising your visibility in your organization and industry, and your invisibility comes back to haunt you. One day, you arrive at work to find out that a colleague was promoted to a position you coveted. Another day, you come back from lunch, and your boss unexpectedly stops by, closes your door, and tells you that your position has been eliminated. Many of my clients were invisible in their organization and industry, and never attempted to raise their visibility until their lost their job. If you are waiting until you need to engage with your industry versus engaging now, it is already too late.
Raising your visibility and value is about being bold and taking steps that you may not normally take within your organization and industry.
To that end, I recently signed up to have myself video-taped during a presentation in Concord, New Hampshire, where I chatted about a number of leadership experiences and lessons I have learned from my clients.
In my practice of leadership coaching, I strive to be two things. I work to be experiential – learning from my own behaviors and the behaviors of my clients to help everyone with whom I work. Secondly, I work to be action-based. I believe progress comes from taking action and I work hard with my clients to move closer and closer to their goals.
I’d love to invite you to view the three videos that you can find on YouTube by clicking here. The topics you will find are:
Take a moment to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you will be notified when more videos arrive. Start raising your visibility and value today!
During my tenure as an author, speaker, and leadership coach, many of my colleagues are curious how I got my practice started. Many of you may not realize that I started my business from “square one.” I did not know I was going to be laid-off from Iron Mountain and I had zero plans to start an independent practice.
When I think back on how I got my practice started, I share the following thoughts with my colleagues:
- Ensure your significant-other supports your transition. One of the two things that will end your transition from corporate to consulting is your significant-other, looking at you across the breakfast table, telling you that he/she needs you to get a job.
- Have a strong financial foundation. The second thing that will end your transition is a financial crisis. Anyone transitioning from corporate to consulting needs to have a strong financial foundation for at least three to five years. You will need it!
- Be transparent about your wins and losses. Hiding how you are doing (or not doing) can be a very easy behavior. This only leads, however, to others believing you are achieving more than you are. Always be transparent with your significant-other regarding how you are doing, what is working, and what is not working.
- Create best-in-class materials. Great artifacts of your work will lead others to believe what you are doing is great. Second-class materials (generally created to save money in the short-term) will lead others to believe what you are doing is second-class.
- Always be optimistic and persistent. I started my practice during our most recent recession in 2008. It would have been easy for me to blame the economy and quit. Yet, because my wife supported me, we were financially sound, I was transparent with her, and I invested in best-in-class materials, I was able to make the turn.
You are more likely to be successful if you have a strong foundation and start with your house in order.
In addition to raising your visibility within your organization, it is more important than ever to raise your visibility outside of your organization as well.
Your desire to attend an industry association meeting probably feels like a dream. Your ability to attend industry meetings during your workday, after your workday ends, or on the weekend is compromised in the following ways:
- Lack of energy. You are so exhausted by the demands of your job that the thought of getting excited and energized for an industry activity, especially after your workday ends, is beyond your capacity. By the time the clock strikes 6:00 pm, you are physically tired and mentally tapped-out.
- Lack of time. You have too much to do! So many of your colleagues are depending on you to do your job that the idea of taking time away from work seems impossible. How can you find time when your calendar is double- or triple-booked? Your fear of the volume of work waiting for you when you return from being away for the office is a major disincentive.
- Lack of information. You are so deep into the activities, tasks, and requirements of your job that you are not even aware of industry activities that are going on around you. You are more focused on joining a conference call or getting to a conference room than you are on attending an industry conference. Even if you wanted to attend an industry event, you would not know where to start.
- Lack of support. Even if you register for an industry meeting or event, your attendance is at risk due to last minute “issues” at your organization. An urgent phone call from your boss politely asking you to alter your plans is more likely than you attending the industry event. Or, your boss believes that engaging with your industry is something you do after the workday ends or on the weekend. If you do attend an industry event, you are distracted due to an onslaught of emails and phone calls from work. While it is nice to be needed by your colleagues, you wonder why your colleagues can’t seem to get along without you, even for just one day.
You are not alone. In today’s fast-paced and fast-changing organizations, it is hard to find the time, energy, and support to attend industry events. However, your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization and industry.
I would estimate that 90% of my clients are avoiding a conflict-based conversation. Who can blame them? Not only are conflict-based conversations uncomfortable, these individuals have experienced ZERO training in how to effectively manage conflict in the workplace.
Most successful leaders would tell you that conflict is good. Respectfully discussing opposing opinions or deficient performance in proactive and healthy ways are good for an organization. Some clients (although only a handful) love conflict! They see conflict-based conversations as a great way to make significant progress in resolving problems and building relationships.
One of the best strategies to manage a potentially conflict-based conversation is to follow Steven Covey’s fifth habit of highly effective people – Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Most folks go into a conflict-based conversation with their guns blaring. They believe they have an argument to win and they intend on winning it! In reality, the more you know about how your colleague feels about a situation, the better position you are in to handle your differences respectfully.
Next time you have a difficult topic to discuss with a colleague, start the conversation with the following questions:
- Can you tell me why you feel this way?
- Why do you believe this is the best way for us to move forward?
- Are you open to hearing other options that might work equally as well?
I guarantee you will have a better conversation, your colleague will be very surprised by your strategy to understand before being understood, and your will raise your visibility as a leader who manages conflict proactively and respectfully.