RARELY do we sit in the warm afterglow of our achievements at work. But as businesses start focusing on retaining talent, now is a good time to put your hand up and show those around you what you have done.
In most offices, recognising results is not practised enough. There is an overriding sense that achieving results is the job you are paid for and so why should anyone congratulate you on doing your job?
Everyone is quick to highlight when things go wrong - so it is equally important to highlight and recognise things when they go well too.
However, there is a fine line between getting credit for achieving results at work and self-congratulation. You know when you have done a good job and there is nothing wrong in admitting you are proud of your efforts. But it all comes down to how you communicate your success. There are some simple things you can do to ensure you are the office king rather than the office crawler. The key is to ensure the right people in your company understand your value while you are still in the job rather than after you are gone.
Key decision makers
Within every office, there are a select number of people who make the decisions. Identify who they are and develop a target list. Look at their areas of responsibility and think about how you can come into contact with them. If you are involved in a piece of work that relates to their area, introduce yourself and pick their brain on how they think the project should be developed.
The best way to do this is to organise a brainstorming session. As part of the session, provide a brief background on what has been achieved so far before going in to the latest project. The session will expose key personnel to your work, probably for the first time.
Initiating contact with decision makers could be made part of a post-project debrief to look at its results in a fact-finding way. Solicit feedback from those involved on how processes can be improved.
When communicating a win, make sure you publicly thank the members individually for their efforts and contribution. Highlight the ownership and collaboration of the project. Your team members will appreciate your acknowledgement and will be more receptive to working with you in the future.
When communicating successful results, offer it in a way that can help colleagues in their campaigns. You might develop the project into a case study. While the results and products employed in future projects may differ, the principles and project methodology used to achieve the results are timeless and can be reused.
It is also a good move to ensure the discussion positions your boss in a good way in front of his superiors. However, if he is taking all the kudos when delivering the news up the chain, take control of the communication process.
Most middle and senior managers have gatekeepers who shield them from the barrage of people wanting a piece of their time and concentration.
When sending reports, include these people in the distribution list and send it after work hours, usually before 8am and after 6pm. The senior manager you are intending to target is more likely to open his own e-mail at this time rather than rely on a personal assistant.
In today's work environment, where performance is more closely scrutinised, time in the office and length of service counts for little. Career progression is still made through relationships.
If you click with a senior manager and you gain his confidence, you have a greater chance of moving up. But do your research. Observe and understand their work style. Are they hierarchical, big on ideas but lax on detail, micro-managers or collaborative types? Once you have pinned down the style, run your meeting in a similar fashion.
Publicise your efforts
If your company has an internal communication process such as a staff newsletter, approach the editor to see if he would be interested in profiling a story on your project. Emphasise that it was a team effort and ensure that it spreads the kudos evenly. You do not want to look self-serving.
When developing reports, you should also tap into your manager's hot spots of interest. If he finds financial issues interesting, include return on investment data in your report. If sales is his forte, mention the number of additional clients on the books.
In addition, provide comparisons to past projects, especially if your findings add new or better insights. You should also ensure the report is easy to read. Information presented graphically works well. Put the most important and best results at the top, so that they stand out.
The reality of the workplace is that people are busy with their own jobs. They are not going to go out of their way to publicise anyone else's efforts. It is up to you to be proactive and strategic in your plan to get your good work noticed by the people who matter to your career.