Raise Your Profile and Your Value
By Wanda Wallace
Typically, we are told somewhere in our career that we need to raise our visibility, and ultimately our value, in order to get promoted. But rarely do we know how to do that or we would already be doing it. So, I turned to Ed Evarts, author, speaker and leadership coach for mid-to-senior-level business leaders, to get some practical tips for people to raise their visibility.
Ed focuses on the accelerators of visibility and value. His book is titled: Raise your Visibility and Value: Uncover the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job. To listen to the full episode of Out of the Comfort Zone I am summarizing, please click here.
Most people who need to be more visible, need to show the value they produce for the organization. “You don’t want to be a person who everyone knows, but no one knows what you do. You want to be the person whom everyone knows and everyone knows the value you can bring to the organization and industry,” says Evarts.
In most organizations we are so busy, that we often lose our own persona, style and value in an attempt to get all the work done, says Evarts. A lot of us are technically proficient, but we don’t demonstrate how we can lead effectively.
Accelerators of Your Visibility
Visibility is broader than networking. Visibility is activity or behaviors that build your reputation in your organization and industry – all the ways people connect with you and the way they feel about you when they do connect with you. Because we are all so busy, Evarts is not suggesting we add on activities to increase our visibility but rather that we refocus certain behaviors and actions we are already doing that allow us to be more visible. Evarts lists seven accelerators. Here are a few we focused on in our conversation:
Introduce yourself more effectively.
For example, when joining a table at a conference, go around the table and introduce yourself before sitting down. Then you are more likely to start conversations with people around you. Sit with people you don’t know. Be present in the moment when you meet someone. Engage in small talk when you meet someone (What brought you here today? What excites you about today?). Have good eye contact, listen. Remember names by being present in the moment, repeat the name, write a note on the back of the card.
Make sure people have access to you and that you are responsive when they need something. Make sure people know how to reach you, when they can reach you and when they cannot reach you. Walk over and see someone rather than emailing them.
If someone sends you an email or leaves you a message, get back to them. Even if you cannot answer their question, give them an idea of when you will be able to do so.
Interact with others. Engage one-to-one with colleagues in your organization and industry.
Participate with a purpose.
Intentionally engage in activities in your organization and industry.
Engage with industry associations.
Interact and participate with colleagues outside of your company. Identify best practices, meet candidates for roles in your organization and meet people who have already done something your organization hasn’t done. Find time for this type of engagement.
Manage your reputation.
This means enhancing how people speak about you when you are not present. If you make an important presentation, somewhere in the organization, people are talking about how well or how badly you did. You want those conversations to be positive.
The four key areas that influence reputation are articulation, attitude, behavior and production. By articulation, Evarts means you should sit down and think about what you want your reputation to be. By articulating whatever that is, you will be better able to work towards it. Have a reputation statement (like a mission or values statement for a company.) By attitude, Evarts lists examples as flexible, polite, respectful and/or optimistic. Behavior is simply how you interact with others. Production is simply what you get done and its quality. It’s important for you to prioritize the work you need to do to produce good quality. Don’t just be busy. Be productive.
Raising Your Value
Visibility and value are intrinsically connected. It’s not just about being known, it’s about being known for something good. Good value is not the same thing as good performance. Value is the benefit derived from the work you produce and Evarts cautions us about equating being busy with being valuable to the company.
Evarts defines three types of value: individual value such as expertise, knowledge or teamwork, internal financial value such as finding ways to save costs and external marketplace value, such as sales or profit.
“Focus on financial metrics,” says Evarts. You need to understand how your company measures value and how you contribute to that. If you think about the value of what you are producing every day, you will be in a better position to articulate your value to others. If you can identify how the work you do is tied to the company’s success, your value will be more appreciated.
There are also several worksheets on the following website: http://raiseyourvisibilityandvalue.com/