Exposure & strategic relationships are essential to progress your career | Tips to get started

colleagues giving an office high-five

How much time do you dedicate to gaining internal exposure in your organisation?

Have you ever considered how vital it is to your career progression? In the last few weeks, I have heard of yet more examples of people missing out because of ‘a lack of exposure’ or a perceived absence of relationships with senior people.

Yet for many people, especially women this can be a real challenge, time is one issue, feeling inauthentic is another and the sense that surely doing a good job should be sufficient to get promoted and given the interesting work/projects..

So for many the need to increase exposure and work on strategic relationship feels frustrating. The problem is people need to know for themselves what you are like at your job and as a person. One contact of mine didn’t even know about a promotion opportunity until they were told they were considered but didn’t get it. A client was telling me that there are constant promises of promotion, but she didn’t get the one she went for due to her inexperience at managing senior stakeholders.

If you consider that often people several levels above us will be contributing to decisions about who gets promoted. They will assume, if you have been put forward by your line manager, that you are good at the technical aspects of your job. Therefore the people they know of and something about are more likely to get the promotion as they are a ‘safer bet’.

I help many clients look at what relationships they need to work on and the specific approaches/ways of doing this in a genuine and natural way.

Here are my top tips for starting to think about this for yourself:

  • Have a clear objective of what you want to achieve in the next year and three years.
  • Consider all the people in your organisation who could help you achieve this. It might be people actually contributing to promotion decisions or providing feedback on you, someone that would be a good mentor or people that could help you work on a specific area where you need to develop.
  • Prioritise the top three people to start with, according to your objectives (you can add more later).
  • Consider their perspective – what is their situation in their current role? Do you have any relationship with them at all? If you do, what is it like?
  • Consider the key next step for each person, if it is building a relationship, consider how you might do that. If it’s working on an existing relationship, think about what needs to change and how you can facilitate this.
  • Work out how these actions become part of your day job, as they need constant attention. If you don’t do this, it is the path to frustration, you are unlikely to progress your career as you would like.

Ultimately, you need to build a simple plan and diarise the actions to make sure they happen, as we all get busy with the day job. This plan is not static either, it should be reviewed periodically to check the objectives, people and actions are still valid.

If you feel you are stuck in your career and need some help to navigate the ‘people stuff’, contact Joanna Gaudoin at Inside Out Image. I have worked extensively with clients through my Career Impact Programme to understand how they are perceived at work, be clear on what they need to achieve to gain exposure and build better relationships with the right people; ultimately to progress their careers.

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About the author

Inside Out Image run by Joanna Gaudoin helps professional individuals achieve greater career success and their organisations improve business performance, by working with them on their personal impact and relationship building skills.

Prior to establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna Gaudoin spent ten years in marketing and consultancy.  She now works with clients one-to-one, as well as speaking and running workshops across all areas of personal impact and relationship building; including appearance, body language and voice, as well as the skills and confidence for different business scenarios such as meetings, networking and presentations.

Most of Joanna’s work is in the professional and financial services sectors. Additionally, she helps clients navigate ‘office politics’, facilitated by a diagnostic profiling tool to help clients understand how they currently interact and how this could be improved, to achieve their objectives.

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