You know office hermits. The colleagues who, hidden within the confines of their offices or workstations, click away on their computer keyboards, mumble their way through conference calls behind closed doors, and slip in and out of their offices and workstations as quickly and silently as they can. It is almost as if they are members in a secret society comprised of individuals that pride themselves on how few colleagues they interact with on a daily basis.
If you are an office hermit, you are at risk of being just a body in a chair or a voice on the phone. When working to raise your visibility in your organization and industry, you must interact with colleagues. You may not realize that you are at risk of becoming an office hermit, even if you feel as though you are interacting with a lot of colleagues. When you take a moment to step back and look at with whom you are interacting and how frequently you are interacting, you may find that:
- You are interacting with the same three or four colleagues.
- You are interacting with individuals who are not key decision makers and influencers.
- You are not interacting as much as you think you are.
When I describe the degree to which you engage one-to-one with colleagues in your organization and industry, I am not describing free time, down time, or unproductive time. In the Raise Your Visibility & Value model, interacting is not about adding activities to your already overbooked workday. After all, it is unlikely that you will participate in activities that you need to add to your workday if you are already overbooked and overwhelmed.
In contrast, the interactions created when you work to raise your visibility are already part of your workday. So, why are you not engaging in these interactions? Perhaps you are not noticing these opportunities. Perhaps you are not taking advantage of them. Perhaps your organization’s culture does not support them.
Or, maybe you think or have been told that the only way to raise your visibility is to network. Most of your colleagues tell you that the primary strategy to “get ahead” is to network and that you need to do so a lot. Remember that this is true for individuals looking for a job and those who are self-employed. In the Raise Your Visibility & Value model, for employed business professionals, networking is simply one of many interaction activities in which you can engage.
Raise Your Visibility & Value: Uncover the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job is available