In order to be considered for interesting growth opportunities, and to ensure longevity within an organization, it is important for leadership to know who you are, and be familiar with your capabilities. One can build a solid personal brand within an organization naturally, without gratuitous self-promotion or schmoozing by following these six guidelines, which can be easily integrated into daily working life.
1. Set objectives.
“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
– Lewis Carol from Alice in Wonderland
Establishing a reputation and getting exposure is a good thing to work toward, but it is a “softer” goal that, alone, is difficult to define and measure. Defining interim objectives that are more tangible/measurable, is a good practice for this type of goal in that it creates virtual way points for use in tracking progress on the path toward the broader goal.
Similarly, without goals and underlying objectives, it is difficult to plan a path of progression, or to know whether or not meaningful progress is being made.
Some of your objectives may pertain to the next five guidelines.
2. Become really good at what you do.
We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. – Jesse Owens
Establish yourself as someone your immediate supervisors and stakeholders can trust. Put great effort into honing your craft instead of worrying over attention from senior leadership, and word of your skill and accomplishments will begin to spread organically. You will know you are well on your way when team and project leadership begin to request you by name, or are excited to have you working on their team/project.
In my opinion, doing great work is the most important element to building a reputation and longevity within an organization. If you don’t, it is difficult to fully compensate with the others.
3. Embrace stretch opportunities.
The best way to develop people is to constantly get them out of their comfort zone. – Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Bush InBev
Asking for opportunities that push beyond the constraints of your current role and comfort level, shows initiative; that you want to grow and are willing to challenge yourself.
Challenging assignments broaden your experience by showing you your current limitations, and providing an opportunity to push through them. They broaden your exposure by providing opportunities to work with different people and in different parts of the organization.
4. Network internally.
A simple hello could lead to a million things. – Unknown
Perhaps the most logical way to become better-known within an organization is to network internally. Be intentional about meeting new people. Find common interests with individuals outside your normal, day-to-day contacts and build on them. Let them know what you’re working on and what you’re interested in. Listen to what is on their minds, and try to help them make connections that will help them along their paths.
I suggest branching out before worrying about branching up. Trust-based relationships with peers and supervisor-level contacts will provide opportunities for rewarding professional and mentoring relationships, while also providing opportunities for recommendations and access to management and executive level contacts.
5. Find something you’re passionate about, and take responsibility for it.
Employers and business leaders need people who can think for themselves – who can take initiative and be the solution to problems. – Steven R. Covey
Every organization has “white space,” or gaps where no one has asserted ownership over a particular opportunity area. Stepping in and taking leadership in these opportunity areas shows initiative and drive. As you establish yourself as a “go-to” person for your areas of interest in the organization, others who have need for assistance, or who share your interest will be directed to you.
6. Maintain a “can do” attitude.
If you say you can or you can’t you are right either way. – Henry Ford
Approach challenging situations with a positive attitude, and look for opportunities to help others overcome their own. Contrary to popular belief, being realistic and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of difficult circumstances are not mutually exclusive. Professionals who are able to navigate challenging situations with optimism and grace become a highly valued commodity in any organization.
Much like a negative attitude, a positive and proactive outlook can be infectious. People tend to want to work with and recommend someone who brings solutions and positive energy over the complainer and doomsayer.
Post featured image from Brenda Clarke
I think these are all really great suggestions. The last one especially rings true, as there are many people who notice something is out of order or needs improvement, taking responsibility, especially when volunteered without a pre-emotive request, shows ambition and willingness to be accountable for success. Worthier attributes of up and coming leaders.
Great to hear from you, Doug, and thanks for the comment! Finding and chasing your passion is always a good way to make a name for yourself!