My business performance client Mary looked at me across the table. Her eyes grew distant as she said, “It’s just so frustrating. I work hard and produce solid results. I’m dependable and I never make waves. But no one seems to notice.”
Sound familiar? I’m guessing if you follow along with the ideas and examples I share in my live programs and here on my website, you might be feeling the same way as Mary. Good solid work; minimal confirmation that anyone notices. Often just taking your dependability for granted.
Granted, there is certainly a delicate balance that must be struck between working quietly and blowing your own horn. But at the end of
the day, your good work must be visible – even obvious to others who can influence your compensation and career advancement.
Here are four action suggestions you should consider.
First, you must continue to build your foundation of solid reliable results. In short, do good work every day. Strive to avoid both careless and serious mistakes; deliver before deadlines; write clearly, logically and persuasively; keep everyone informed of progress and challenges; anticipate and work through barriers that get in the way; and help others in their work. And never forget to make your boss look like a hero.
Second, write. One overlooked opportunity to showcase our abilities is to write. Everything from brief ‘how to’ articles on:
- How to review a time report
- How to manage a financial budget
- How to provide performance feedback and career development coaching
- Better use of PowerPoint
- How to create a meeting agenda document
- How to get Better Results in (you fill in the blank!)
Do you notice the common theme? All of these ideas and yours should focus on showing others ‘how to’ do something relevant. Publish your ideas in in-house and client newsletters, blogs, and on social media sites, and submit them to professional journals.
What a great way to document your expertise and make your good work visible. You will both help others with your ideas and reach a wide audience of readers. Who knows where that might lead!
Third, speak. That’s right: look for both formal and informal opportunities to stand and speak. Make a point of practicing your message out loud. Be concise, be clear, be helpful. Adopt the point of view of the listener. Always ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Look at every business conversation, meeting and presentation as an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. But don’t wing it. Practice in advance. I know that’s common sense, but it’s not common practice.
On of my favorite quotes on this topic is from Bill Gove. Gove was one of the pioneers of professional speaking and the first president of the National Speakers Association. He said, “Everyone sells their ideas every time they open their mouth – so why not get good at it.”
Fourth, volunteer. Every day in our work environment, opportunities pop up to volunteer. When your boss says we are looking at new ways to (fill in your own blank here). When a co-worker expresses frustration with how to implement a new policy or use a new piece of software. When a customer tells you that they wish your company’s service was better, ask them how. And then pass along the ideas to your supervisor with the offer to get personally involved. You and I both know that in many situations, your offer will be declined – but volunteer to help anyway.
Try these four ideas to make your good work more visible to others. Be tactful and modest in your approach. But make sure as many people as possible know you as someone with great ideas who is willing to put them into action. Get started right now.
John J. Hall, CPA
John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.
Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”