What a time to be in the workplace. The expansion of the global marketplace, fueled by technology has increased recognition of motivated career people who are constantly searching for tools and networks that they can use to succeed in their careers. This article serves to introduce the PIE model which can be used in advancing your career. The PIE model examines the relationship between three key dimensions that impact an individual’s career. They are Performance, Image, and Exposure. They work in conjunction in that by performing exceptionally, that will create a positive image of yourself that gets known to people who matter in your career.
Your performance is the day-to-day work you are tasked with and the quality of the results you deliver. It is the price of entry. It is the expectation. Necessary, but not enough. For example, you can be a top tier salesperson, a cyber genius or a master at customer service but if you’re not leaving a lasting impression or an outstanding contribution then your impact and its value is a diminished return. Your career should be a solid track record of exceptional performance. The major benefit of exceptional performance is its merit and sense of pride. You will see people in the workforce move up through nepotism, cronyism, politics and other biases, don’t mind them, when you’re a top performer word will get around quick especially to the people who matter (your bosses’ boss, HR, other teams, directors, etc.). Sometimes that is not enough, and you have to treat your work and efforts as a personal brand and find new and clever ways to get the word out on your performance.
Image is your personal brand. It is your reputation; it precedes and follows you your whole career. Questions to ask yourself – How do others view me? Do I maintain a positive outlook? Do I lead with solutions and new ideas? What do others say when I’m not in the room? It’s a difficult conversation many don’t have but should start. There are a few challenges with image; it’s hard to control, it’s misunderstood, it is difficult working through a pre-existing “bad” image of a department or supervisor. What we want it to be is professional, mature, and responsible. What we want to control is our social and political prowess, which is ideal for navigating the corporate ladder. Dependability, ethics, and confidence are the best tools for strengthening our image.
The last component of this model is exposure – it requires a lot of effort. It’s about who knows you and what you do. Does your boss know what you do? Is there any niche exposure to key organizations leaders and influencers? Do you have a broad network of advocacy? (managers, mentors & sponsors). It is the engine for performance and image. With exposure, your performance is acknowledged and your image is enabled. Exposure speaks to the participation of the informal and formal channels in an organization. Seriously, think about it – who knows you? And who cares?
Developing a plan to manage the communication and contacts while broadening your network is critical. Studies have shown performance counting for 10% of your success, image 30% and exposure an outstanding 60%. This may be obvious to some people, for others it can catch you off guard. It shows, what I stated earlier, that working hard and performing good is not good enough.
Personal accountability is all you need to succeed. Sure, a good manager can get you some exposure, but they can’t do everything for you. Optimizing your performance opens the door for any consideration. If an influencer or decision-maker views you as capable, consistent and positive your image as a candidate is typically sealed. Exposure closes that deal. Good luck and get yourself a piece of that pie!