I hope you are getting excited about working with your vision as a tool for finding and sustaining your composure, even when times are tough. Have you thought about what you will do with all this possibility?
I have an idea: Why not shine?
Clients often share that they are working so hard and delivering such incredible results, but they worry their work and their contributions are not visible. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to increase the visibility of your valuable contributions.
- Leverage informal interactions.
One opportunity for visibility that many of us leave on the table comes in the form of our informal interactions; let’s look at a few common informal interactions and how you might use them to shine.
Consider how you respond to “How are you?” Your response to this question can indicate:
(a) Nothing of substance (e.g.,”I’m fine.”)
(b) That you are running around with your hair on fire, you can’t take another minute of the status quo without totally losing your chili, and that you can barely handle your workload so no one should even think about giving you a promotion or a cool stretch assignment (e.g., “I’m crazy busy.”)
(c) Or you can use the opportunity to let the person asking know about the interesting things you are working on and the problems you are solving.
Consider how you handle status updates in team meetings. You could:
(a) Pass when it’s your turn (e.g., “Nothing to report.”)
(b) Provide the standard update (“Everything is on track.”)
(c) Or you can use the opportunity to uplevel the conversation by shining a light on the interesting problems you are solving for the organization and perhaps even engaging others in your efforts.
Consider how you arrive at meetings. You could:
(a) Arrive just as the meeting begins, rush into the room with your head down with no eye contact, and take a seat in one of the chairs lined up against the wall.
(b) Or you could arrive a few minutes early, enter at a dignified pace, sit at the big kids’ table, and have a conversation with someone while you calmly wait for the meeting to begin.
It is so easy for us to think visibility comes from the big marquee projects we get the chance to work on, but the truth is there are all kinds of opportunities to be visible and to shine in everyday interactions. And once you see that, this can be a far more comfortable, and far easier, way to go after getting the visibility you want.
- Have career-advancing, relationship-advancing conversations.
Another place to experiment is in the conversations you have, both formal and informal. Make sure you know how to have career-advancing conversations. Here are some tips:
First, state your intention:
- I am interested in…
- I would like to work on…
- I would like to learn …
- I would like to become …
- I would like to work for you one day.
And then make your request:
- What steps do you recommend?
- What skills do I need to add?
- How can I demonstrate that?
- Who should I speak to?
- Would you be willing to mentor me on topic X for a few months?
- Appreciate the opportunity in the escalations or interactions that you handle with people you aren’t working side-by-side with every day.
Another route to visibility is with the escalations you handle or with projects of yours that get tons of press or other external visibility. Now, I am not suggesting you go out there looking for ways to cause churn for the sake of visibility, but when you are on a project or issue that has gotten bigger than your typical workflow, rather than experiencing only misery around the ensuing interactions, what if you see them as an opportunity to let your talents shine, to make an impact, to contribute what you are capable of contributing?
As with other learnings in the CCO, don’t get sucked into thinking you have to do everything you read about here, or that you have to do anything textbook perfect. Just pick an idea that intrigues you (or maybe pick one that makes you a bit jumpy), experiment with it, and stick with what works. But I encourage you to try something. If you are the best-kept secret in your organization, the bad news is that:
- Results alone do not equal rewards. Results plus visibility of your impact equals rewards. (Think of “rewards” broadly here.)
So why not shine? Think of how you might use the aspirational vision of yourself that is coalescing as you work through this lesson to enliven your upcoming interactions.