Quick summary: Why do some people get so much credit when they do less than you? Here are three tips to get your name out there, too.
Executive Presence And Selling Yourself (Without Selling Out!)
Do you know someone who has really been annoying by the way they ingratiate themselves to the leaders? Why is that? Often it’s because we don’t want to be labeled as a “brown noser”, “suckup” or as they call it in parts of Asia, a “shoeshine boy”. We hate the idea that we might come across as phony or superficial. We don’t know how to promote ourselves with authenticity and executive presence, so we don’t say anything.
Your work does NOT speak for itself!
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is your responsibility to promote yourself – you can’t outsource this responsibility! Many, many people I’ve worked with over the last 25 years assume that their work should speak for itself. They secretly hope that someone out there is noticing or that they will have the same champions throughout their careers. The reality is, they’re just not that into you, and as your career goes on, you have to put more work into your self-marketing. Assume that people are too busy to automatically pick up on what you’re doing. If you do so, your courage will be doing yourself, your career and your paycheck a big favor.
You don’t have to be slimy to build advocacy or market yourself at work
How can you show that you are on a different glide path? If you do this right, you can segue more smoothly into your self-marketing so it doesn’t have that slimy factor we all hate. Here’s how we encourage our clients at Change Masters, our global leadership communications company specializing in executive presence, to make their capabilities known in their organizations. This template works around the world – in fact, here’s an example from a Western European leader now working in Asia.
First, make your progress known in the three big areas every company is interested in today, which are how are you making progress in the three buckets of:
– Driving business results
– Driving breakthrough innovations
– Driving people to the next level of performance
Just thinking of these things allows you to start to recalibrate your language and your actions to focus yourself in the right direction.
Second, if they don’t know what you’ve done it’s almost like you haven’t done it. Get the word out. You create a product or generate an idea, but stick it on the back of the bottom shelf and let it get dusty, no one will ever buy it. You have to socialize your ideas to get heard with your circles of influence. Don’t let your comfort level be your guide – let their ability to register and retain your message be your guide.
Third, when you socialize what you’ve done, concisely focus on some unique nuance of your approach or what you did that made it work because of your unique take on the situation. Don’t assume they know! But when you do so, cut out the “blah blah blah” of providing excess background. You just want to hook them with one brief, intriguing statement. As one client of mine, a Dutch engineer said, “Take them by the hand and give one line of background for context, not the history of the world!” He got great results with this approach, saying, “You made a Dutch engineer, half-Italian!”
Bottom line: Engage your senior leaders in topics that are meaningful to them and remember – if you did it and you said it, you’re not bragging!