Many of my clients are individual contributors, team leads, and first-level managers. Despite their excellent work they lament that their work does not get the visibility and recognition it deserves throughout their organization. This becomes painfully apparent to them during their annual performance review and during the time their promotion is due.
In many companies a manager or senior professional-level promotion (from Staff Engineer to Principal Engineer, Analyst to a Manager, or from a Copy Writer to a Creative Lead, for example) depends on other department heads agreeing to the person's contributions and the person, before they vote positively on that promotion. Many of my clients complain that despite their great contributions their managers are hamstrung by the lack of visibility of their work and of themselves.
What this implies is that merely doing great work in any organization is often not enough. You must make yourself, your work, and its impact visible to those that matter. Despite the saw, Good work speaks for itself, my view is that it does not often speak loud enough. Also, if you do not promote your own work and yourself, someone else will hijack it away from you and promote themselves in your stead and take away the credit you deserve. I have known managers that routinely do this and take the credit for their subordinates' work.
This blog is about how to increase your visibility and impact in your own organization in addition to doing great work. Even if you decide that you do not want to go the management route"staying on the technical ladder"following these tips will allow you to protect your reputation and even enhance it to allow you to claim what is rightfully yours.
- Be clear about the work (of course, this is the work that goes outside your order-taking tasks') that you are doing and how it is going to impact your immediate organization and others. Find out ways to quantify the impact of your work. If you are not sure work with your boss to formulate some ways to capture this objectively.
- Before you complete and deliver the final result or release, draft an email about what the project was (or is) and how it is expected to impact others within your own organization and outside. Make some prediction and projection of the project's benefits and articulate how it is going to change the status quo.
- Give credit to all that have worked on the project, including your boss and discuss this draft with your boss. Do not let your boss hijack this memo away from you and take its authorship in their name. This is an important step in this process.
- Ask your boss the names of all the higher-ups that must be included in this memo. Since you have already included your boss' name as a key contributor to this success she is going to give you an expansive list of higher-ups to whom you distribute this email (as CCs).
- After the email goes out initiate discussions within and outside your organization about the success and act as a spokesperson that championed the change. Soon you'll become the go-to person for anything related to this topic and you'll increase your visibility.
To many, doing great work and making meaningful contribution come naturally. Using the suggestions from this blog you can further enhance the benefit of your contributions to your own advantage.
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.
After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.
During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.
Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.
Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.
Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.
Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.
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