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By Brian Tracy
you noticed that some workers receive more promotions
and greater pay than do their colleagues do, even
though they are apparently not as competent or as
capable as their colleagues are? This doesn't seem
should some people get ahead when others who seem
to be working far harder, and even longer hours, get
passed over for promotion and the additional rewards
that go with it?
fact is that to be a great success, it is important
not only to be good at what you do, but also to be
perceived as being good at what you do. Human beings
are creatures of perception. It is not what they see
but what they think they see that determines how they
think and act.
your coworker is perceived as being more promotable
than you are, for whatever reasons, then it is very
likely that your coworker will get additional responsibilities
and more money, even though you know that you could
do a better job, if given the chance.
however, there are several things that you can do
to increase your visibility and accelerate the speed
at which you move ahead in your career.
starting point to attain high visibility is to develop
competence. Determine what parts of your job are most
important to your boss and to your company, and then
make the decision to become very good in those areas.
You must be perceived as being very competent at what
you do; your future depends on it.
perception alone will bring you to the attention of
more people faster than you can imagine. The perception
of excellent performance will open up opportunities
for greater responsibilities, higher pay and better
positions. Becoming good at what you do should be
the foundation of your strategy for gaining higher
visibility and rapid advancement in your career.
everywhere are looking for men and women of action,
people who will get in there and get the job done
right as soon as possible. When you develop a reputation
for competence and capability, you quickly become
visible to all the key people in your working environment.
at what you do is essential, but it's not enough.
There are additional elements that go into
the perception that others have of you. And one of
the most important elements is your overall image,
from head to toe. How you appear to others makes a
recent survey of personnel executives found that the
decision to hire or not to hire is made in the first
30 seconds. Many people believe that the decision
to accept or reject a job candidate is actually made
in the first four seconds.
capable men and women are disqualified from job opportunities
because they simply do not look the part.
There are many elements of your life over which
you have no control and which you cannot choose. But
your external dress and appearance are totally a matter
of personal preference.
Through their choice of clothes, their grooming
and their overall appearance, individuals deliberately
make a statement about the kind of people they are.
way you look on the outside is a representation of
the way you see yourself on the inside. If you have
a positive, professional self-image, you will take
pains to make your external appearance consistent
a good idea to dress the way the senior people in
your company dress. Dress for the position two jobs
above your own. Since people judge you largely by
the way you look on the outside, be sure to look thoroughly
the perception of the people who can help you in your
career will be positive. They will open doors for
you in ways that you cannot now imagine.
powerful way to increase your visibility is to join
one or two professional associations connected with
your business or field. Begin by attending meetings
as a guest to carefully assess whether or not a professional
association can be of value to you.
if the members are the kind of people you would like
to know and are well-established in their careers.
Then, if you have decided that becoming known to the
key people in this association can advance your career,
take out a membership and get involved.
people who join any club or association do little
more than attend the regular meetings. For some reason,
they are too busy to assist with the various things
that need to get done. This is not for you. Your job
is to pick a key committee and volunteer for service.
out which committee seems to be the most active and
the most influential in that organization, and then
step up to the plate. Volunteer your time, expertise
and energy, and get busy. Attend every meeting. Take
careful notes. Ask for assignments, and complete them
on time and in an excellent fashion.
each case, you have an opportunity to perform for
other key people in your profession in a non-threatening
environment. You give them a chance to see what you
can do and what kind of a person you are. You expand
your range of valuable contacts in one of the most
effective ways possible in America today.
people you get to know on these committees can eventually
be extremely helpful to you in your work and in your
join a well-known charitable organization, such as
the United Way, and become active by donating your
services to its annual fund-raising programs. You
may not be wealthy now, but you do have time, and
your willingness to give of yourself will soon be
noticed by people who are higher up.
men and women with limited contacts and limited resources
have risen to positions of great prominence as the
result of getting to know the key community leaders
who participate in charitable organizations and professional
years ago, I joined a statewide chamber of commerce
and volunteered to work on its Economic Education
Committee. As usual, very few of the members contributed
any time or effort to the committee, so there was
always lots of work for those few people who were
willing to put in the effort.
one year, I was speaking at the annual convention
for this association. The audience was composed of
some of the most influential business executives in
the entire state. In the following year, I was invited
to give a key briefing to the governor and his aides
at the state capitol.
became so well-known in the business community that
within six months, I was offered a position to run
a new company at triple my former salary. It all came
from becoming active in the chamber of commerce and
becoming known to the other members. About three years
later, I volunteered to work with the United Way and
had a very similar experience. In fact, my whole business
life was changed because of my involvement in helping
that charitable organization in its annual fund-raising
amazing how far and how fast you will go when you
begin to give your time and energy to others on a
It's one of the fastest ways up the ladder
of success in America.
are many other things that you can do to increase
your visibility - things that don't occur to most
people. For example, a study of 105 chief executive
officers concluded that there were two qualities that
would put a person onto the fast track in his or her
first quality was the ability to set priorities, to
separate the relevant from the irrelevant when facing
the many tasks of the day. The second quality was
a sense of urgency, the ability to get the job done
place very high value on a person who can set priorities
and move quickly to get the job finished.
Dependability in job completion is one of the
most valued traits in the American work force.
your employer can hand you a job and then walk away
and never worry about it again, you have moved yourself
onto the fast track, and your subsequent promotion
and pay are virtually guaranteed. Another way to increase
your visibility is to continually upgrade your work-related
skills, and to make sure that your superiors know
for additional courses you can take to improve at
your job, and discuss them with your boss. Ask him
or her to pay for the courses, but make it clear that
you're going to take them anyway.
young woman who worked for me was able to double her
salary in less than six months by aggressively learning
the computer, bookkeeping and accounting skills she
needed as our company grew. And she was worth every
your boss for book and audio program recommendations.
Then follow up by reading and listening to
them and asking for further recommendations. Bosses
are very impressed with people who are constantly
striving to learn more in order to increase their
value to their companies. Doing this regularly can
really accelerate your career.
you'll be more visible if you develop a Positive Mental
Attitude. People like to be around and to promote
people they like.
consistent, persistent attitude of cheerfulness and
optimism is quickly noticed by everybody. When you
make an effort to cultivate an attitude of friendliness
toward people, they, in return, will go to extraordinary
efforts to open doors for you.
summary, here are the five keys to increasing your
visibility so that you can be more successful, faster
in your career:
Become excellent at the important things that you
have been hired to do. Excellence in your chosen occupation
is the primary stepping-stone to higher positions
and better pay.
Look, act and dress the part. Become knowledgeable
about styles, colors and fabrics. Dress the way senior
people in your company dress. Never take anything
Remember that in the area of image, "casualness
Develop your contacts, both inside and outside the
company. Always be looking for ways to give of your
time and effort, as an investment, so that others
will be willing to give of their time and effort to
help you sometime in the future.
most successful men and women in any community are
those who are known by the greatest number of other
successful people. Begin with your professional association
or club, and join a local charity that you care about
and that also has a prestigious board of directors.
Take additional courses to upgrade your skills, and
make sure that everyone knows about it. Ask your boss
for book and audio program recommendations. Then read
and listen, and go back to your boss with your comments
on what you've learned and to ask for further recommendations.
your boss feels that you are eager to learn and grow,
often he'll become a mentor to you and will help you
up the ladder of success. This process of being mentored,
or guided, has been instrumental to the careers of
many successful executives in America.
Be positive, cheerful and helpful. Be the kind of
person other people want to see get ahead. Treat other
people with friendliness and patience, and always
have a good word to say to the people you work with.
the final analysis, taking the time to become an excellent
human being will do more to raise your visibility
and improve your chances for promotion than will any
other single thing that you can do. And you can do
it if you really want to.
Tracy is one of the world's leading authorities on
personal and business success. His fast-moving talks
and seminars on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness
and business strategy are loaded with powerful, proven
ideas and strategies that people can apply immediately
to get better results in every area. Visit Brian
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