Garfinkle's Getting Ahead Teaches How To Take Your Career To The Next Level

Much sought after executive coach Joel Garfinkle reveals his signature PVI model -- Perception, Visibility, and Influence in his new book, Getting Ahead, Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.

According to Garfinkle, you need to take the fate of your career in your hands and not leave it in someone else's hands. And you do that by:
  • Creating the right image for yourself
  • Increasing your public profile across your organization
  • Exerting influence by driving change and inspiring people
In an exclusive interview, Garfinkle answered these questions about his book:

Question: How does a humble, introverted reader gain comfort to embrace your suggested actions?

Garfinkle: First off, research shows that introverts, not prone to self-promotion, typically have more trouble than their extraverted colleagues rising through the corporate ranks. Thus, it’s even more important that they read this book and embrace the concepts. It will give them the competitive advantage they are lacking in the workplace due to the introverted nature. The comfort they gain by implementing the suggested actions is that they don’t have to be hindered or limited by being introverted.

Sometimes, people come from cultures or families that taught them not to speak up, stand out, promote themselves, and create visibility for themselves. For introverts, these issues are prevalent.
I recommend the section on page 104 “how to overcome the fear of the spotlight” because it helps ease the process for those who are introverted.

Question: Will a reader who works hard to improve his perception, increase his visibility and exert influence be perceived by colleagues as a "show-off?"

Garfinkle: Self-promotion has a bad reputation. People fear they will be seen as a “show-off." They become reluctant to promote themselves and their work, because they fear what others might think of them.

A lot of people don’t know how to effectively self-promote and fear that it may come across as arrogance or show-off. However, if people don’t know you, your work will go unrecognized—and your career will suffer accordingly. You’ll be overlooked and unnoticed. This is why it is vital to let people know of your achievements and their impact.

The reputation you’ve established over the years and the ability to not be a “show-off” gives you much more permission to self-promote and not be judged negatively. The other person will hear it only as accomplishments that show how your results benefit the team and the company.

Question: What inspired you to write your book?

Garfinkle: For 16 years I’ve been asking the question “What makes one person more successful than another?”

I’ve owned an executive coaching company that provides me access to clients from around the world and in countless industries – managers, senior executives, employees. This experience has provided me with a unique and expansive perspective on what both employees and employers want, need, and desire at work. No matter where my clients are from, what companies they work for, or what titles or responsibilities, I’ve seen a pattern in the kind of qualities that make 1 person more successful than another. What I found was that the most successful did these three things better than anyone else.
  • Improve perception
  • Increase visibility
  • Exert influence
Once I created the PVI-model I realized it was time to write the book.

Question: You provide dozens of Action Steps. If someone can do only say five, what are the most important things they can do after reading your book?

Garfinkle: Perception occurs on a daily basis. Other people are constantly observing and forming opinions of you. Consider how others perceive you in your company, both positively and negatively. How do you think you’re perceived at work? Observe your behavior for the next two weeks and record how you think you are perceived – both positively and negatively.

Identify two different situations in which you decide to speak up and speak often. You might have to leave your comfort zone, but do it. You’ll be heard and seen as competent, and you’ll notice others’ perceptions of you starting to shift favorably as you contribute more often.

Write down five ways in which you have noticed others exerting influence without relying on their authority, power, or title. Observe your own behavior and come up with three action steps you can take that will allow you to do the same.

Look for opportunities in your current job to complete tasks fulfilled at the next level. Ask yourself once every few weeks, ‘‘What does my boss have ownership of that I could take over that would directly provide me influence at his level?’’ You might even put an alarm reminder in your PDA or smart phone.

Identify and obtain exposure to key decision makers in your company. Make a list of all the key decision makers in your organization, and create a strategy to become visible to each of them. You might need an introduction from another colleague to contact these individuals for advice.

Thank you to Joel for sending me an advance copy of his book.


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