A note from Beth: It is exciting to feature my friend and colleague as a guest writer on my blog. Like me, Ed is a leadership coach and we have had the opportunity to collaborate on facilitating many leadership training sessions. I am proud to announce that Ed’s book, Raising Your Visibility and Value, came out this month! Congratulations to Ed and I encourage you to check it out and read more below.
In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing work environments, most leaders find it hard to be visible with key stakeholders and hard to keep up with directional and strategic organizational changes. Key stakeholders change faster than the price of a gallon of gas at your local service station and change is the new corporate norm.
In additional to your daily tasks, assignments, and goals, your #1 job responsibility is to ensure you work to raise your visibility and value every day and in every way.
Why? Why do I need to raise my visibility and value? Doesn’t my presence make me visible enough? Don’t folks already know how valuable I am? While I would like to tell you that you are visible and your value is known to everyone, in reality, that is not the case.
No one cares more about your visibility and value more than you and no one cares less about the visibility and value of others than you. This may “bite” a bit, yet, you and your colleagues don’t have the time and energy to worry about anyone else. Sure, a boss might help a subordinate be more visible or raise more value, yet that does not happen frequently and the person who ultimately cares most about your visibility and value is you.
Raise Your Visibility
Most of the clients I work with tell me that they need to be more visible in their organizations and industry. When I first began hearing this perspective, I was surprised. Lots of folks work in glass offices and have three or more meetings to which they have been requested to attend on their Outlook calendar. Most of my clients are so “busy,” they find it hard to find times to meet with me. Most of my clients would describe themselves as overworked. How could these same individuals feel invisible in their organizations and industry?
Simply said, it is because these individuals are so busy that they believe they are invisible. These folks feel that they spend most of their time in their offices or rushing between multiple meetings. They are not spending time making meaningful connections and building lasting relationships with colleagues.
As I reflect back on my work history and in my research with my client base, I have identified seven behaviors that folks need to do to raise their visibility. In my new book, Raise Your Visibility & Value: Unlock the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job, I call these seven behaviors “accelerators.” By demonstrating these seven accelerators, your likelihood of raising your visibility grows appreciably. Here are the seven accelerators:
- Introduce yourself is the degree to which you introduce yourself to new colleagues and make a great first impression.
- Be accessible is the degree to which colleagues can reach you and benefit from the interaction.
- Be responsive is the degree to which you get back to your colleagues and foster progress.
- Interact with others is the degree to which you engage one-to-one with colleagues in your organization and industry.
- Participate with others is the degree to which you engage in one-to-many activities with colleagues in your organization and industry.
- Engage with industry associations is the degree in which you interact and participate with colleagues outside of your organization.
- Manage your reputation is the degree to how your colleagues think or speak about you when you are not present.
When you work in most or all of these accelerators, your likelihood of raising your visibility is greater than ever before. Don’t be the organizational leader who:
- Sits at the back of a meeting at a conference or does not introduce yourself to colleagues at your table. Introduce yourself!
- Hides from his colleagues by closing his office door or limiting how folks can connect with you when you are traveling. Be accessible!
- Never responds to email or phone messages left by colleagues. Be responsive!
- Does not meet one-to-one with subordinates to obtain updates on project work and their career objectives. Interact with others!
- Avoids attending company meetings or training programs. Participate with others!
- Does not belong to any industry association groups or if you do belong to a group, does not attend any meeting. Engage with industry associations!
- Spends little time thinking about their reputation in their organization and industry. Manage your reputation!
Raise Your Value
As your visibility in your organization and industry grows, you also need to ensure the value that you provide your organization and industry grows. No one wants to be the person whom everyone knows, yet no one knows what you do. Value is the new corporate currency!
Recruiters, hiring managers, bosses, and organizational leaders continue to circumvent the idea of value more and more. Questions regarding how you provided value at your prior jobs are increasing in interviews. Curiosity on how you are providing value today are replacing performance appraisal processes.
Do you know what value metrics are important to your organization? Do you know how you positively impact these value metrics? If the answer to one or both of these questions is “no,” you have some work to do.
In Raise Your Visibility & Value, I share a number of ways to think about value and to increase the value that you provide your organization.
My #1 suggestion is to host a value conversation with your boss. This is different than a regular one-to-one meeting (which you should be having on a recurring basis) and a performance appraisal meeting. At this meeting, you want to thank your boss for the great feedback you received on the performance review that she wrote for you and suggest that you and she talk about how you can provide more value to your organization. I can’t think of one boss who would not want to have this conversation!
Ed Evarts is an author, speaker, and leadership coach at Excellius Leadership Development. He works with senior level business leaders and their teams to improve performance, reset direction, and bring strategic plans to life. Ed’s new book, Raise Your Visibility & Value: Unlock the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job, can be purchased at Amazon.