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Career Myth BUSTED: Your Results AREN'T Speaking for You

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on June 1, 2014

"My results speak for me." Peter said proudly.

I was sitting with a group of younger P&G managers, and they were sharing examples of what it means to proactively manage their careers. Peter was explaining why he didn't need to broadcast his results.

"No." I interrupted. "YOU speak for YOU. Results DON'T speak. YOU have a VOICE, results do not."

I explained my point, "You're a manager at P&G which means I've already assumed you have strong results. BUT I've also assumed that everyone else at this table has strong results too. You will need more than results to distinguish yourself from a competitive crowd."

I remembered falling into that trap at my 4 year mark too.

I was once a dutiful, head-down, reliable performer. I was uncomfortable with speaking up, and I didn't want to be like my more aggressive peers. I knew I had good results and I assumed my results spoke for themselves. I was CERTAIN my boss and her peers could see that I was above average and deserved to be promoted ahead of my peers.

But instead of being rewarded with a promotion ahead of my peers, I was promoted AFTER them.

I thought I could get by without speaking for myself. I was wrong. The system rewarded people who had more than results. The ones who sat passively, without giving context to their results were passed up. Like me.

Then I learned the importance of speaking up. And when I started to speak for myself, I was promoted ahead of my peers... Twice.

Here's what I learned:

Results DO matter. BUT HOW we achieve our results also matters. We're judged on:

  • Goal Setting
  • Decision making
  • Risk taking
  • Analysis, Assessment and Planning
  • Adaptability
  • Sustainability
  • Persuasive Communication

These elements require you to speak and commit BEFORE results are achieved, and to sell yourself, your team and your plan to earn your organization's confidence.

Not only do results and the results achievement process matter, leadership matters. Leaders demonstrate qualities such as:

  • Character: Doing the right thing even under difficult circumstances.
  • Initiative: Volunteering for the tough stuff, versus waiting to be asked
  • Can do attitude: Always shooting for stretch goals, versus being pushed to try.
  • Direction Setting: Setting direction, versus waiting for direction to be deployed
  • Perseverance: Having the vision, mission and courage to see plans through
  • Accountability: Accepting personal responsibility and responsibility for the actions of others.

Your results can't speak for how you lead, think on your feet, make decisions, guide direction and correct assumptions. Only you can.

Self-confidence matters. Confidence in myself made others confident in me. Self-confidence looks like:

  • Speaking up without being asked.
  • Speaking confidently about your results, the organization, and the business - give your leaders something to talk about.
  • Confidently representing your leaders: Show your leaders they can be confident in delegating authority to you.
  • Valuing yourself by networking, advocating, and defending yourself. Self-confidence is inspiring.

When YOU speak for YOU, you earn the right to speak for your leaders and for others.

Stop relying on your results to speak for you. Only you can fully represent you. And the more you speak for yourself, the more other people will speak for you too.

Speak for yourself. Speak for your skills, results and organization. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it takes perseverance and character.

It takes a leader.

And that speaks volumes about you.

Are you facing some fears about speaking up? Here are some great tools and inspiration to give you a jump start:

Don't Let Presentation Roadblocks Stop You

Perfect Pitch: Give Your Voice a Confidence Makeover

The Humility Trap

Kick the "I Can't Habit:" You Can!

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