Getting your voice heard has gotten exponentially more complex. While you can take to Twitter or to Glass Door to rant about your employer, gaining visibility for your ideas is tough. Companies still have hierarchy and there are more people to influence at different levels.
Being good at your job is only going to get you so far. That’s why you get paid. Even as you rise in title and you believe you’ve got plenty of visibility, it’s a false sense of security. Most executives I work with don’t have a robust network or even take the time to ensure they grow their visibility inside and outside of their company. Being visible affords you the opportunity to have influence with the right people at the right times.
While many leadership books and systems ask you to cultivate your Emotional Quotient or your EQ, I’d ask you to grow your VQ or your Visibility Quotient. The paradox is, the more you focus on gaining visibility in an “others focused” world, the further you build your VQ.
Here are 7 techniques to ensure your VQ skyrockets:
- Schedule time to network with 3 people per week. Building your network inside and outside of your company doesn’t have to be tough. After all, you have to eat! Eat a meal with someone other than you at your desk.
- Ask for what you want. People can’t read your mind. It’s important to articulate exactly what you want from others. You might be surprised what you get back in return.
- Ask for feedback and REALLY want it. What’s more impressive than delivering great results for your company? Genuinely being open to receiving feedback. And I mean being completely open and curious to what is being said. If you remember that perception is everything, realizing the impact of your words and actions and taking responsibility for them will only engender you to others.
- Lead with curiosity first! Too often assumptions lead the day based on our past experiences and judgments. By leading with an inquiry based approach you get to know why people think the way they do instead of consistently “telling and selling” (aka telling you what to think and do or even finding out why you did what you did). Since business changes so often, the rules of the game could have changed within the last 5 minutes. Leading with curiosity allows you to put your judgments aside and get why something is occurring and now.
- Communicate to the others “why” and also don’t forget your “why.” It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to be seen, having your voice heard and persuading others. It’s easy to forget what’s important to you in the first place and why you are even looking to gain influence and visibility. Don’t leave YOU behind.
- Decrease your influencing or visibility “setbacks.” If your influence ability took a setback ask yourself: Where didn’t you trust your gut? What cues didn’t you pay attention to? Who really had power to make your ideas happen? Who had no power and was still important who you might have ignored?
- Be clear who has power in the company and who has real influence. Typically, the person who has true power and influence is not a senior executive. When you are cultivating your relationships, do so at all levels.
Upgrading your VQ takes attention and intention. You have to want to grow your VQ and to work a bit every day to build it. Refining your attention and targeting it creates focus and puts the emphasis for you on where you really want to be. Take the time now at the end of 2016 to evaluate, how concentrated were you in growing your VQ in 2016? Where did you succeed? Where can you focus for even greater growth in 2017. Here’s to your VQ success!