Stakeholders are always on the look out for reason to compensate, promote or applaud an individual for good performance on a role, job, assignment, or position. Even in public service, citizens are looking for reasons to vote-in or vote-out a leader. In the corporate world, performance appraisal is a norm and the basis for promotion. Question then is: “how are you raising your visibility to stakeholders and advancing your career?
In today’s leadership and management parlance, value-add has become a buzzword! It is time to shift communication from your value-add to your visibility-quotient.
Buzzwords suffer significant controversies and “value-add” is not an exception. On one hand, for instance, the sum of the unit profit, the unit depreciation cost, and the unit labor cost is the unit value added. So, if you go with this formula, how do you calculate the value-add you sell? On another hand, value added refers to “extra” feature (s) of an item of interest (product, service, person, idea, etc.) that go beyond the standard expectations and provide something “more”. Problem with this is that stakeholders’ expectations vary and are often difficult to cap. Value-add is, therefore, very difficult to measure per unit or per person.
From Your Value-add to Your Visibility Quotient
“To earn their right compensation, smart leaders move to visibility quotient!”
Visibility Quotient (VQ) is your measurable additional contributions that support institutional objectives.
“Your Influence + Your Visibility Quotient = Your Impact”
The higher the number of people (your influence) who see your additional contribution (visibility quotient), the higher your perceived impact and the higher, therefore, your compensation or reward.
Imagine yourself interviewing for a job or a position where the employer would ask the following questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why should we hire/promote you?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
- Why did you choose to work here?
- Why do you want to stick to working here?
- Who would you like to know about your contributions in this institution?
For a successful career, you must build-up and articulate your visibility quotient in a manner that appropriately responds to the above questions.
My3D Program (thinkmy3d.net), equips you to assess your ability to build-up and articulate your visibility quotient (Discover), identify and address any skills gaps (Develop) and Deploy your new skills to raise your visibility and advance your career.
To ensure appropriate visibility quotient, four things are key:
- Build Up to a Good Visibility
Forbes published some interesting strategies:
- Demonstrate super competence on any task assigned.
- Mind your manners and groom yourself.
- identify problems that others haven’t seen and solve them (within your department, organization or environment).
- tackle a problem no one else wants to tackle. Good example is company’s product that isn’t performing well, trying to change that—gives you the chance to make a much bigger impact.
- seek and leverage leadership opportunities.
- ask to be assigned to high-visibility projects.
- find advocates and allies – people who believe in you, trust you and could go out of their way to use their political capital to support you.
- Choose an area to build your expertise.
- Always be asking, “Can this be done better by changing something—even slightly?”
- think strategically no matter what your job title is.
- find ways to expand your influence – Connection, Connection, Connection: speak up in meetings, strengthen your relationship with your boss, volunteer to represent your team, participate in learning opportunities, at every opportunity demonstrate your expertise in a contagious manner, form a Mastermind Group (with people at the same stage in their career and common interest (read books together, conduct a particular research, solve a problem, collaborate to do something impactful or intellectual, learn a specific transferable skill, etc.) and grow your network (work, social and community)
- Clearly Articulate Your Visibility Quotient (VQ)
- start by asking yourself the following questions: Are you able to gracefully, elegantly, and clearly articulate the contribution that you make?
- align your value to matrix and measures: What did you do to create those results and what role did you play? – pull exact numbers to support your case and provide “concrete measurable results.”
- In doing this, understand your market o increase the odds of conversion:
- Understand who your stakeholders are.
- Understand your stakeholder’s intent (what impresses them).
- Know your stakeholder’s challenges (major pains they would like solutions to).
- Know what your stakeholders expect from a position such as yours and what will be considered as over and above board
- Write down your contributions clearly: say something like: “As a result of my effort to do [identify your action], I have achieved [results] which provided the following specific benefits to the company or community, [fill in numerical data].
Being able to articulate your contribution isn’t bragging–your statement is simply a fact put into context and purpose.
Joelle K. Jay (Principal, Leadership Research Institute), provides insightful and valuable case on how to do this:
A case study:
Executive VP (in fortune 500 coy) Seeks a Seat on Executive Committee
Many of her bosses and managers agreed that she would be a good candidate, but not everyone saw that she had made concrete contributions. So, we sat down and we identified what she had done to earn that C-level title. She identified that as a result of her effort to think about the entire enterprise-wide contribution of their team to the end-goal results of their company, she was able to transform the organization and significantly improve their impact, including a figure that she identified in real dollars in the seven-figure range.
– By being able to articulate the sentence: “As a result of doing this, I’ve achieved these results, with this specific benefit for the company,” she got clear and more confident about what she had actually achieved.
– Then she was able to look for appropriate ways to say to the executive committee members: “This is the team that started here, these are some of the things we’ve accomplished, here’s how we’ve benefited, and here’s how the company is moving forward–and I’d like to lead a discussion on where that actually takes us next.”
This Part 1 of the article is focused on points 1 & 2 above. In Part 2, we will discuss points 3 & 4.
Raising your visibility and advancing your career requires your deliberate effort. You must equip yourself with distinctive competencies including analytical and strategic thinking & reasoning, compelling communication skills, stakeholder management skills, clear focus on leadership and ability to influence others. Equipping you with these important competencies and skills is what My3D Program provides you.
Tilda MMEGWA, is an internationally top-rated Executive & Leadership Coach