‘Career’ Category Archives

4
Apr

Performance, Image, Exposure

by Meri in Career, Personal Development

One of the most interesting concepts I came across when I was just starting out in my corporate career was the PIE model – Performance, Image, Exposure. Typically this is represented by a pyramid diagram or a pie chart, depending on how pun-driven the explainer’s sense of humour is.

In terms of an individual’s career, the 3 segments represent the following:

  • Performance: The actual work you do, the results you deliver.
  • Image: The impression that others have of you (obviously this can differ from person to person).
  • Exposure: The people who get to know about a) your results and b) your image.

At first, it was a concept that really didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t seem FAIR. Surely one’s career should really just depend on the results that you deliver? If you’re good at your job, you should do well, right?

If I’m honest, that feeling stayed for quite a long while. I resisted the concept that you needed to care about your image, about your exposure. I believed that I could just do my job and that the results I delivered would be what mattered. I wouldn’t need to care about image or about getting known by the decision-makers.

All that changed because I was asked to write some feedback for someone. The person in question was someone I actually hadn’t worked with as directly as others for whom I had written performance evaluations in the past. I realised that since I hadn’t been working directly with them, I didn’t really KNOW about their real work and their real results. Strangely, though, I still had definite opinions, both of what they were doing well and what they could improve on.

This is what made me realise that image and exposure are both important — and factors that you should ignore at your peril.

Whether you like it or not, only a limited number of people will get to work with you directly. Even those that do will get a fairly narrow view of the real results that you deliver. On the other hand, many many more people will form an image in their minds of what you’re like — perhaps that you’re a safe pair of hands, maybe that you’re very smart or very ambitious. Some may form a very negative image — that you’re a bullshitter or unreliable or untrustworthy. The combination of that image that people have of you (Image) and the groups of people that share that view of you (Exposure) can make or break your career.

The big light bulb moment for me was when I accepted that Image and Exposure were going to matter whether I cared about them or not. Of course Performance is also important and always will be — I firmly believe that folks who try to make it all about the image and the exposure are playing a dangerous game of smoke and mirrors and will eventually be caught out. But the difference between two colleagues with comparative performance, one of whom cultivates the type of image they want and makes an effort to get the right exposure and the other who ignores these facets completely … well, it can be very significant.

15
Mar

Invest in Yourself

by Meri in Career, Personal Development, Training

A recent article about refactoring your career made me think back to when I first read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. For those who haven’t read it, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is a personal finance book — some of the advice is a bit variable (e.g. he recommends against diversifying your investments, which I 100% disagree with), but there are some good concepts in there.

One that struck me at the time as making a lot of sense was the thought that you should always pay yourself first. In the financial world, this means contributing to your savings and investments and pensions and so on BEFORE you pay your bills or buy any “extras”. This disciplines you into saving/investing regularly.

The same is true in terms of your career. You NEED to invest in your own training and development first, in order to have a dynamic and rewarding career. Concepts like Google’s 70-20-10 rule are similar to this — you need to not only focus on what is making you money now, but also what will make you money tomorrow and next year.

In terms of your career, this means that you should be setting aside time for training and development — some of which is focused on making you better at your current job and some of which is focused on getting you towards the next step in your career … and some of which should move you towards your long term goals.

How do you include training & personal development into your life? Do you find it hard to find time to invest in yourself? Share in the comments.