One of the topics that I’ve been teaching at the college is about how to gain visibility in the organization. As some of you know, I have a few clients career coaching clients. I don’t like to take too many, because it’s a lot of work and I invest a lot into people’s success because I know how frustrating it can be.
I developed this framework for one of my clients because she had been so frustrated that she couldn’t get promoted in her department for the past 8 years and was becoming very negative. Actually, it had become VERY negative. I asked her why she should be promoted. Her answer, “I’ve been with the department for 8 years and can do the job with my eyes closed”. She was definitely ready for a change, she needed it.
But, the change that we created was in HER! I always remind the college students that you can ONLY control, what YOU can control.
I’ll be honest, she was NOT receptive to this at first. In her eyes, she was the victim and her boss was the villain! However, fast forward 7 months later – she was receiving different job opportunities outside her department. Don’t worry, I’m going to share the techniques for this.
The first thing and this feels harder than it really is:
- How does your boss or division define success?
- What does success look like to them?
I’m talking about real metrics. Every division has this or some sort of mission or vision statement of the value that they provide to other departments. To find this in some, if not many cases. They haven’t clearly defined this. Which provides an OPPORTUNITY!!!
Job descriptions provide a list of the minimal activities, it provides a benchmark of what is expected to create to be successful in the current role. One needs to look at the next level and their job description to understand what is required for that level. One should be performing between the two levels, in order to have a claim. I blame our tipping industry, that just doing what the job expects us to do and we get a tip. For example, how many coffee shops have tip jars? They didn’t bring me the coffee to my table. I stood there and waited for them to perform their duties as outlined in the role. Yet, I'm expected to tip them for doing the minimum requirements of the role. Tips are for going above and beyond.
Think of the tip as your promotion for going above and beyond.
Every division has some sort of growth metric. It doesn’t necessarily need to be about sales. It could be around increased productivity/ decrease in resolution tickets/ successful product launches. The reason why this is important for you to figure this out is that it enables you to understand how YOUR achievements contribute to the overall department achievements. You’re creating a story, a narrative that your boss can easily share with his or her boss.
In fact, one of the gentlemen that I was coaching realized that he was spending 30% of his time on NON GROWTH activities. He was beyond surprised. He was spending so much of his time logging and tracking some non-essential activities and the opportunity cost was that he didn’t have time to help with a key strategic partnership and their go-to-market strategy. Partnership development was one of the GROWTH activities defined by their divisional president. As soon as he became aware, he stopped 30% of his time and focused on the key strategic initiatives that were clearly communicated. In fact, he actually found a way to automate this 30% of activities and shared the best practice with everyone in the department. He was gaining bonus points all around. Team player, strategic thinker were some of the words that were being used to describe him at the management level. It’s not hard to see why. How he became seen as an essential employee that they wanted to grow and develop. And yes, he did get promoted. In fact, they created a brand new role for him to lead a portfolio of strategic partnerships.
Step 1: Find out your department’s growth metric
Step 2: Is around Knowledge, Learning, & Contribution
Knowledge & learning is pretty self-explanatory. How are you investing in yourself? How are you developing your knowledge, skills, and attitudes? Don’t wait for someone to define it for you. You need to take control. What do YOU want to learn? What do you NEED to learn in order to take a different role? There needs to be some thinking and planning. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to take external courses and ask for budgets. There are lots of internal courses that are free to join and attend. And if not, Why not create one?
What do I mean by this? Create a learning opportunity for others could be as simple as
Sharing best practices or lessons learned with others inside and outside your department! Host a conference call/webinar or lunch and learn and share it with others. You’ll be seen as a collaborative, insightful, team player. A LEADER!!! See where I’m going with this?
Knowledge & Learning are important but Contribution back into the organization is JUST as valuable!
Just mastering these 2 steps are critical and essential!
Step 3: Delivery
What did you achieve? What outcome did you deliver? What governance model did you follow or develop? Are there best practices that you were able to develop?
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