Excellent Work +
Communication = Success
don’t know what happened. I just finished managing a project that
has occupied most my days for the last eighteen months. It was on
time and within budget. I expected a lot of kudos and probably a
raise or even a promotion. None were forthcoming. What did I do
Recently I had lunch with a mystified MIS Director who had done
exactly what her CEO wanted. She'd installed state-of-the-art
systems throughout the company. When the president asked her to
resign because of philosophical differences, she couldn't understand
what happened. Hadn't she delivered on his executive mandate?
conference a couple of weeks ago, I met Bob S., a savvy marketing
manager who was seeing a disturbing pattern in his career. He would
start off in tune with management, accomplish great things, then
eventually feel like an outsider. What was he doing wrong?
One of my
clients, an ambitious consulting MBA, worked long hours his first
year handling a lot of projects typically done by higher-level
managers. He figured his combination of hard work, outstanding
accomplishment and positive client feedback would lead to an early
promotion. He was quite disappointed when his supervising partner
did not grant him one because, "We simply don't move people up after
only one year. Promotion requires at least two years."
professionals were all severely disappointed in management's
response to their excellent performance. Instead of reaping a just
reward, they felt rejected and undervalued. Do any of scenarios
vast majority of business professionals, these careerists were
acquainted with only half of the "success equation." Their ignorance
of the other key component caused their problems. While they
understand the need to do a good job, they don't realize it's
equally vital to communicate effectively with the people in their
company who can make or break their careers. Instead of isolating
themselves, they should be talking regularly with those who can sell
their ideas to key decision makers, grant raises, promotions and
growth opportunities and protect them from hostile factions with
a second look at each of the above professionals’ scenarios and see
how a little strategic communication could have saved them a lot of
the MIS Director had a mandate from her CEO to make major system
changes throughout the company, she neglected to realize the
importance of including other high-level managers in promoting
the process. Instead of consulting them on their needs and
ideas, she chose to follow her own path, assuming that
presidential backing was all she needed. When the other managers
complained about her "strong-arm tactics," she ignored them,
figuring their negativity was a normal response to change.
Eventually her politically astute CEO realized he could either
back this maverick, or stay in the good graces of his key
managers. With the new systems in place, he chose the managers.
first time Bob S. felt like an outsider he was in the
unfortunate position of being "old guard" in a new management
takeover. His company was acquired by another who chose to
install its own people in key executive positions. As a general
rule, very few high-level professionals from an old regime
survive a management change, because it's human nature for the
new CEO to surround himself with people he knows and trusts.
Given his lame-duck situation, Bob moved to another company that
was privately owned, growing fast and desperately in need of his
Because its owner was wise enough to understand that his "baby"
had exceeded his leadership capabilities, he selected a new team
to ramp it up to the next level. Then he got cold feet. Suddenly
his company was their company. The new management, assuming they
had his blessing to make necessary changes, neglected to realize
his need to be in the loop. Feeling like a stranger in his own
firm, he replaced his management with people who were "more
loyal" to him. As the last of the original team, Bob S. may
still be able to save his job, if he quickly changes his modus
operandi to include the owner's opinion in analyzing and
developing marketing strategies.
consulting MBA went wrong in surmising that he and his partner
were on the same page in determining criteria for a promotion.
As an uninformed neophyte, he thought promotions were primarily
a matter of performance. His partner considered seniority to be
more important. If early in his first year, the consultant had
initiated a discussion about the requirements for a promotion,
he would have realized his expectations were inflated. Then, he
could have either campaigned for an earlier promotion or lowered
his sights and put more energy into balancing his life.
to be successful in your career, excellent work and proactive
communication with your managers, peers and employers are both
essential. I can’t be sure if your communication is lacking.
However, based upon experience working with thousands of clients,
I’m confident that’s the fly in your soup.