January 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Getting Ahead – A book you should find time for.
I came across a book recently that came recommended from a reliable source and I thought I should have a look. It’s called “Getting Ahead” by Joel Garfinkle. A top US coach apparently, he has devised an approach for getting ahead in your career, probably not a key priority for me at this stage, but certainly relevant for clients who want to work in that area. So I got a copy and uncovered something really interesting. Yes it is totally relevant for you if you want to build your career but it offers much, much more. Let me explain once I’ve taken you through the basics. Be patient, I’ve been doing some of your reading for you.
Garfinkle offers a 3 stage process but underpinning that, and this is really important, you must be delivering results. That’s the entry ticket. So, if you aren’t delivering results forget about building your career! That makes sense.
Once that’s in place however, Garfinkle advocates working in three discrete areas – he calls it the PVI-model: Perception, Visibility, and Influence. The PVI–model asks you to:
(1) Actively manage people’s perceptions of you in the organization, using a 4 step process. And you should also check out with others whether your self-perceptions are accurate. If necessary take action to shift perceptions.
(2) Increase your visibility to gain recognition and appreciation for your efforts. Garfinkle argues that we can’t rely on good results being noticed. We have to manage that process and work to get improved visibility and attention.
(2) Become someone who influences and contributes outwith your normal organization boundaries.
So far so good and you can see how working on this approach might put you ahead of the competition and become a known and valued presence in your organisation.
The different thinking that occurred to me as I talked this through with some coaching clients is that this approach of using PVI can work at the business, department or team levels too. The stakeholders change of course, but for example if you want to manage the impact of your function or team, thinking about how you are perceived, managing visibility on achievements and exerting influence to drive forward the change agenda can be a stimulating way of exploring new approaches, accessing resources etc. I have one client who is currently working on reshaping an operations group and finding this a helpful way of thinking through some different strategies.
And it gets better. If you use this model at a business level you get some new insights and open up wider possibilities. How are you perceived by customers and stakeholders? How do you manage visibility on what you deliver? How are you exerting influence in whatever space you play in?
So PVI works at multiple levels and while ‘Getting Ahead’ might be simply viewed as another career recipe book, I think it’s a powerful tool that can be applied across many situations. PVI meets my benchmark of a really good model – simple enough to quickly get your head around, subtly complex with many layers of application, and powerful enough to stretch your thinking.
If you want to get ahead in your career this is a useful book, but if you want to extend your thinking about how your department‘s reputation is improved, or you want to think differently about your business, or do some different internal PR work, or…., then you should consider getting a personal copy or sharing one with a colleague.
It’s available on Amazon, on kindle and as an audio book. (I don’t get commission.)
And one more thing, I have 1 spare copy to give away. First to email me can have it.
October 5, 2011 § Leave a Comment
An ancient story tells the tale of a group of mice tormented by a marauding cat. The mice meet and after much discussion agree that they need to find a way of getting warning of the cat’s approach. Putting a bell on the cat is the brilliant suggestion from one mouse. Then everyone can hear of the cat’s approach.
Things become trickier when a volunteer is asked for. Mice look down, avert their gaze. Everyone agrees it’s a great idea but none is brave enough to “bell the cat”.
How does this fit with what we do in organisations? Well we need to evaluate our plans for practicality. A great idea that we can’t make happen is much less valuable. And we need to support and appreciate those who take on the impossibly difficult role of belling the cat.
(With thanks to PY for the reminder on this)
Have a good week
September 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been reminded recently thro some client work of the power of smart negotiation in difficult times. Getting commercial advantage thro effectively negotiating better deals has never been more important. The economy is a train wreck and resources are getting ever tighter.
What is often shocking is how scared people are to negotiate, perhaps thro not knowing how to do it. I had a great example recently when agreeing a contract for some coaching work. The company rep asked me if I would negotiate on price and I asked him what he meant. His response was to say that his boss had asked if they could get a discount. Now as a negotiator I don’t offer discounts but I am prepared to discuss price and other things – perhaps a commitment to additional work, increased volumes, or better payment terms. This conversation didn’t go very far as I just bounced the discount request but it set me thinking.
Are your people best prepared to do the best deals for you right now? Are you?
Food for thought and perhaps for another ebook?
Another thing happened around the same time. I came across Thor Holt who runs an Aberdeen business called Present & Personal. They specialise in helping people to get prepared for Pitching, often the stage before a negotiation takes place. Interesting duo – getting prepared for both!
August 26, 2011 § Leave a Comment
August 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Had some thoughts recently about the value of preparation, triggered by some home decorating (I know, not a good thought and during my hols too). We have some outside railings at home, exposed to the worst of Scottish weather, and they needed a lick of paint, or so I thought. But when I started the preparation I discovered several layers of rust and old paint much of it disguising earlier shoddy work. Wire brushing and sanding and lots of rust proofing later I had a set of railings ready for the final coat and that stage was so easy because all the preparation was properly done. And I have to say the finish was a tactile pleasure.
All of that set me thinking about work and other areas where preparation is key. In our work with negotiators we stress the value of good preparation – it’s one of our two big takeaway ideas – and we help people to do that prep in a productive and efficient way.
In running projects we again emphasise the value of sound preparation and the time it saves. Ditto when coaching, we encourage clients to think in advance about what they want to get from a coaching session and likewise we don’t just wander in and ask some facile questions. Presentations too
I wonder where in your work you find examples of preparation adding real value to what you do? Please share if you have some experiences to offer. (Or in the garden perhaps?)
Be good over what’s left of our summer.
May 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
By Steve Quinn
Bear with me. Once this is done I can let it go!
I’m curious about the dynamics of language and how it changes over time so that in some cases words come to have new meanings. So, I’m ok with that aspect of language and yet I’m sometimes irked by apostrophes in the wrong place or words that get misused.
Here’s an example. Is it “home in” or “hone in”. Amidst all the political debate here in Scotland last week I heard a couple of commentators use “hone in” when they meant to focus or zoom in on something. Of course they really ought to have used “home in” and that’s the area of confusion.
I’m an engineer so for me honing has a particular meaning. Essentially it’s about producing a highly polished precision surface using abrasive material. It can also be applied to sharpening a knife or tool. Nothing here about homing devices, or focus or GPS…
There, it’s done. My irkedness (is that a word?) is satisfied.
February 25, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m working with a number of clients currently who are taking stock of career. It’s important work for them and their organisations and I’m struck by the difficulty many of us have in taking that far out view of our career things.
It seems we can do it more easily for the organisation than we can for ourselves. In the business context we know we need to have direction, a sense of where we are going. Just anywhere won’t do. And when we have that focus it’s amazing how things fall into place.
And yet when it comes to career….
For some it’s about discovering what is important for them, then using that to guide action. For others it’s about finding balance, and isn’t that hard when life is busy. Time for me? That’ll be last in line! And yet unless you take some protected time to think far out you leave yourself like the little cork at the mercy of the wind, taken this way and that.
Magic solutions? Now you don’t really expect that did you? Some fruitful areas to explore are:
Strengths – discovering these can be fun, and playing to them can be especially fruitful. It seems that it is only in organisations we get to focus on our weaknesses, rather than exploiting our areas of greatest talent. In any other context that would be just daft.
Competencies seem to offer others a way of thinking about what they have and how they might grow their repertoire in order to do other/greater things. I’m fine with that.
Broadening the type of conversations you are having with colleagues, mentors or your coach can be beneficial too. Had a lovely example recently where a finance guy discovered a strength with people that had lain unrecognised for some time. He felt that he wasn’t quite the same as colleagues, he stood out as different, got great results but was a bit of a sore thumb compared to others. His differentiator is that he is great with people, unlike many of his colleagues and discovering that was quite special.
I have a feeling that we might well return to this topic…
Meantime, be well, keep thinking far out as well as looking after the close in stuff.