Your book revolves around three steps -- perception, visibility, and influence. What is the significance of PVI?
Joel Garfinkle: The most successful leaders and employees have gotten to where they are by leveraging and applying perception, visibility, and influence better than anyone else. Here is the breakdown.
Improve your perception: Create the right image of yourself by taking control of how others see you, so that the perception of you accurately reflects your impact on the organization.
Increase your visibility: Increase your profile across the organization and among higher levels of management by standing out and getting noticed.
Exert your influence: Have impact and leverage your power to alter, change, and improve situations, regardless of your position or level of authority.
What's the most important thing to do if you're going unnoticed within the organization? In other words, how can you stand out to upper management if you're not in front of them?
JG: Regularly share with your boss stories about what happened during the week that show how you've contributed to projects and people interactions. I suggest keeping track of your wins throughout your week by documenting them on a daily basis. If you wait until the morning of your one-on-one, you'll forget many of your powerful achievements. Make a list of all the key decision-makers in your organization, and create a strategy to become visible to each of them. You might need an introduction from another colleague to contact these individuals for advice, support, or mentorship.
What is the most surprising thing you see happening, again and again, that gets in the way of career advancement?
JG: People tend to shy away from speaking up, standing out, and creating visibility for themselves. During my keynote presentation at the Oracle Women's Leadership conference, I posed this question to the 200 women in attendance: ''How many of you tend to shy away from visibility?'' More than half the room raised their hands, which is not an unusual response. Indeed, many of my clients confide that they are afraid to speak up.
What would you say to someone who says "my work will stand for itself"?
JG: You may think that if you "work hard and let your work stand for itself," it will help you at promotion time. This isn't true. Unfortunately, you are relying on luck, chance, and hope -- three things that you should never count on. My response has always been that you can't assume decision-makers are aware of your accomplishments or know the impact of your work and your value to the organization. Many employees are passed by simply because senior management doesn't know how valuable they are.
What should people look for when considering hiring a career coach to help them get ahead?
JG: A good career coach has strong professional expertise, offers candid and challenging feedback, communicates clearly, listens intuitively for both what is said and left unsaid, works from the clients' agenda rather than his own, and provides recognition of your accomplishments and unwavering support.
Photo courtesy of Joel Garfinkle