When your work “speaking for itself” is not loud enough- Develop a “Brand You”
Executives, often women but not exclusively, miss recognition and advancement as they fail to proactively market themselves in an environment where opportunities are few and the pipeline full.
We consistently hear from clients about preferring to take the approach of “letting my work speak for itself”. They have the perception (or hope) that people will notice this and that will be enough to position them well for recognition or advancement. The reality is that it is not.
Organisations are busy, noisy places. Demand for people’s time and attention, along with the requirement to quickly process increasingly large volumes of information, means that even the best work may not be seen or heard.
The reluctance to self marketing shows up in clients through the feeling self promotion is an unattractive trait that has been developed through years of being encouraged to be modest, not egotistical. In the Australian culture we love a success story as long as the person remains humble and does not assume, through their words or deeds, they are “better” than others.
Clients may also have a fear of failure or inadequacy. They have a concern that if they claim expertise in an area then being anything other than excellent at it at, all times, is required. This often shows up where women presume they need to be 150 qualified for a role before they can legitimately declare an interest.
So while we sit and wait for our good work to be noticed, there are others who are employing a different strategy. Experience shows that these are the people who secure the opportunities. Are they more intelligent, harder working, more committed? No. What they are is more skilled at marketing themselves and their achievements to the people who’s opinion matters to their ongoing career advancement.
A colleague calls this “knowing the game”. If you want to play in the game of organisations, you need to understand the rules and nuances. If you want to play well in the game, you need to develop your skills and competencies to match it with others. If you are not happy to do so then you need to realign your expectations as the game and its rules are not going to change to suit you.
Core to success in this process is for clients to establish what they want to stand for – What is their brand? In working with clients in this area we work through a process that has them gain clarity about what they want to achieve; develop a plan to achieve that outcome including identifying the key stakeholders and then coach them through what they need to enable in themselves to successfully execute.
So, if you are find you or your team members are finding others are securing the desired opportunities, rather than raging against the system consider developing and implementing your “brand plan”.