About the Episode
In addition to asking where we want our careers to go, we also commonly ask how do we successfully advance our careers? Many of us have asked this question and, many of us have answered it as well – successfully advancing our careers to where want them to go.
One of the easiest clearcut ways to know how to advance our careers comes from Harvey Coleman, author of Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed. He outlines the P.I.E. model which dives into how our performance, image, and exposure come into play regarding career advancement.
Spoiler alert! The largest factor we commonly believe plays a role in our advancement isn’t the most important by far. Join me as I dive into this model and share easy actionable steps to start advancing your career today!
Hello everyone. I’m Steve Nathenson, CEO and founder of Strive For More, and I’m super excited to have another episode today on something that’s come up quite a lot recently. And that question is, how do I set myself up to successfully advance my career? It’s a great question, especially today, because we are very advancement oriented. We’ve talked about before, how one to three years is kind of that expected of, all right, let’s go. I want to move up. I want my career to advance. I want that promotion. There’s a lot of striving to move our career forward.
So part of the question for us who are looking to do that is, how do I actually do that successfully? How do I set myself up to do it? One of the best ways that I have found that illustrate a great model to do this is the PIE model, performance, image, exposures, by Harvey Coleman. In his book which is titled, Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed, he talks about this model, performance, image and exposure.
So today, what I want to do is briefly cover that model and give you some tips and tricks that can help set ourselves up for success in moving that career forward and ensuring that we do get that promotion. Before I do that, I want to ask you a question to think about. Out of these three items, performance image, and exposure, which of these three do you think is more important to advance your career? I’m going to give you a moment.
I find that that answer varies. The answer varies depending on what level of the organization are we at right now? So, a lot of folks more early on in the career may say, performance. And what’s interesting is, throughout Harvey’s book, he finds 10% of advancing our career really does actually hinge on performance. It’s only 10%, which may be a surprise. And 30% is about your image. 60% is about exposure.
Now this may shift as we move up and advance our career, but this is kind of the basis of what percent belongs with each item, performance, image and exposure. If we look at this, kind of makes sense. Let’s say we are a new hire and we’re new to the organization, new to the role. There certainly is an element to, I got to prove that I can do what I’ve been asked to do, what I’ve been brought on to do. That performance piece. But once you’ve been able to prove that, it does become less important than the others.
Part of this is the reputation that we build, which is the way that I would more easily define, say image, right, the reputation. And exposure, I would more easily define that as opportunity. So those are the two we’re really going to hone in and focus on, because like I said, once we’ve proven that we’re able to do what we can do, the performance, it really becomes kind of a non-factor, if you will. It’s a known constant, if we look at it maybe in a kind of mathematical type of way. So what does the image and the exposure really mean? Well, like I said, I like to talk to image as reputation. So can I earn a reputation in the organization? And it can be, I do good work. I do solid work. I do it timely. I don’t miss deadlines. I’m great to work with. Or it could be the opposite. I’m horrible to work with.
We all throughout our careers, probably know people who are very good at what they do, but they’re not very good at working with other people, and that causes issues. So image and reputation is important, especially if it’s something that we have to rehash. If we get a reputation for say, not working well with teams, it is going to limit our opportunities because it will follow us in an organization and make it harder to say, move to where we want to go and advance that career. So image does become important because it can follow us. I’ve worked in professions where people check up on you, Steve good to work with? Can you do what he says he can? How does he interact with others? People talk.
When we talk about reputation, if we’ve built the strong image of being able to do what we can do on the performance piece, being able to work well with others and have something really be a, say, positive reputation, it makes it easier. So that is one thing to focus on as we advance our career, what is my reputation? Do I perhaps know how I’m thought of, can I learn about it and then be able to, say, adjust as needed.
Part of that is going to bleed into then the exposure or the opportunity piece. So exposure really is, do I have exposure to the folks who can make the decision and determination to move my career forward? And can I get the exposure to certain opportunities that are going to do that as well? Maybe there’s a project that’s been asked to be led and if we, say, volunteer to lead it, that could open up not only to show we’re capable of leading others, but it may give me exposure to cross-functional teams, it may give me exposure upwards as well to additional individuals and be able to kind of share my reputation with them, show what I’m capable of doing, but also build that overall needed thing that is becoming known in the organization by more people that are going to be able to successfully help you advance your career. Do you have that exposure to the opportunities to continue, grow and develop because you’ve made those connections with people?
And in those opportunities, as I mentioned, you actually have that ability to be able to further define that reputation or confirm it for people. Maybe people know of you and they haven’t worked for you, but they reserve judgment for themselves. This gives you an opportunity to solidify that reputation. Now, if they don’t know you, then they’re meeting you for the first time, you get the first impression that you’re able to give and then that follow through to really build on that foundational impression to share who you are and build that reputation. So exposure becomes very key.
Not only do we want to ensure that we take advantage of opportunities that are currently there, but we want to also plant that seed should there not be opportunities with our leaders to express that interest. I’d love to learn a little bit more about kind of what you do. Can I attend one of these meetings? Is there anything coming down the pipe that may be cross-functional, that may be more high level that I can learn or join? Sometimes we have to create those opportunities for ourselves and ask for that exposure. So, that’s another element that I wanted to share, because exposure isn’t always there. Sometimes we have to make that for ourselves.
And it doesn’t have to be limited to projects or opportunities that our boss, say, gives us or that we ask for. Perhaps there’s an element of, what is it that we create on our own? Are there additional things that our organization does? Are there councils, are there activities that are nonprofit oriented? So prime example, I’ve worked with organizations that allowed you to volunteer and give back to the community and we had certain partners that would allow us to go up and do that.
We may be able to carve our own opportunity, gain additional exposure to folks. So, let’s say a prime example is, maybe there’s a vice president I’ve identified, I’d love to work with, or maybe eventually get onto that team. If they don’t know me from Adam, how can I build that opportunity? A lot of times people look for a business case, right? Is there a business connection to help start that conversation? Oh, they don’t care about me. Right? They’ve got everything going on. I have no real reason to be able to talk to them. Well, maybe they spearhead a board that has community service opportunities in your community. That could be an opportunity we could create and take advantage of. So sometimes we have to create it for ourselves.
And even if we start from the fact of, I would like them to maybe be a mentor, maybe they’re very approachable. Hey, John, this is kind of who I am. I’ve been here for a little while and I’d love to learn more about folks who have really kind of successfully been able to grow their career. Would you be open to maybe just a coffee chat and I can learn something from you? There doesn’t always have to be, say, a business case, but if we can find some type of connection to create a relationship with people, that can give us additional exposure.
So when we talk about successfully advancing our career, as you’ve heard, right, we’re focusing more on our reputation or our image, the opportunities or the exposure versus the performance, because once we’ve proven we’re capable of what we’re able to do, then it really does become more about, how can I solidify that reputation within the organization and how can I gain additional exposure to the folks that are going to help me advance my career and get opportunities that allow me to advance, allow me to work with others, to grow beyond the current role and have that be very visible? So visibility is another good way of explaining exposure. If I work on this project, maybe there’s greater visibility to the vice presidents and upwards, as an example. So image and exposure really are more critical than performance.
I know we didn’t get too deep in these. If you have any deeper questions, I’d love to answer those for you. Please reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to striveformore.com as well if you want additional information or additional resources. And until the next time, be the movement in your life.
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