Sunday, August 08, 2021

Life Lately: What does PIE have to do with Career Success?

Which of these counts the most towards career success?

Performance? Image? Exposure?

If you think it is performance, like I too once did, the research does not agree.

I focused on performance when I started my career, expecting my work to speak for itself. I paid little attention to how colleagues perceived me or how much visibility I was getting. I would deliver complex projects and just move on to the next one without making a fuss.

Then one day, Ehis explained that I had it backwards. Using the corporate lingo at P&G, which was itself based on Harvey Coleman’s research, she explained that performance explains somewhere around 10% of career success. Of the remaining 90%, image accounts for 30% and exposure for 60%! I was shocked!

Based on Harvey Coleman's research as published in Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed. Source:

Think about it for a second. Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, does it matter how good you are if people think you’re not reliable (image) or they don’t even know you exist (exposure)? If great performance is the cake, a solid image and exposure are the icing that make the difference in a sea of solid cakes.

You need to be intentional about this. Ask a few colleagues what comes to mind when they think of you, and see if the answers align with your expectations. Volunteer for assignments that allow you work closely with key stakeholders in your organization. When I worked in a regional role earlier in my career without much visibility to local leadership, I volunteered to organize Annual Strategy Meetings partly so that I could be exposed to local leaders.

What will you do this week to boost your perception or improve your exposure?


What I'm currently reading: Nothing! I'm on holiday haha. Just kidding. Or not. I'm not actively reading anything at the moment but I've just bought Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris and The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings. I quite liked The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris as it provided yet another perspective on life in Auschwitz during WW2 and I'm looking forward to Cilka's Journey. I picked up the one on Norse Myths because I think you can tell a lot about people by their myths and the kinds of gods they create.

What I'm currently listening to: Justin Timberlake's Mirrors! :-). It's one of my favorite songs ever and from time to time it'll get stuck in a loop in my head. I also strongly recommend Hidden Brain's You 2.0 series, which will run through the month of August. Last Monday's episode was an insightful one on cultivating your purpose, the difference between purpose and goals, and the many benefits of a purposeful life. Listen now and thank me later.

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