Business Today

The brand called you

Talent is fine, but articulating your achievements is vital.

Saumya Bhattacharya | Print Edition: December 26, 2010

Some of your colleagues love to talk about their accomplishments at work, but you think that is "boasting". You have probably had mentors and your education system telling you to let your work speak for itself. All you need to do is work hard and you will get there, you were told.

If you are still following this advice, it is time to rethink. Talking about your achievements is just as important as working hard and delivering results. Talent managers second that. Dhananjay Bansod, Chief People Officer at Deloitte India, says: "I have seen a lot of good performers who have not been able to make their mark. It is important to talk about your accomplishments."

Saumya Bhattacharya
Saumya Bhattacharya
Without some self-promotion or personal branding, you could lose out in the long term. That is because, in today's world when there are growth opportunities, the employer is constantly looking for people who can deliver.

Spreadsheets do not always pinpoint the persons responsible for a successful job. But quiet employees are often the key resources of an organisation. The least you can do for your sake is speak up, put up your hand and say: notice my talent.

Shaurav Sen, MD and Country Head for the Indian operations of the Corporate Executive Board, the world's largest business advisory platform for functional executives, prefers to call it personal branding. He says that people in large organisations often fail to understand the need for a touch of personal branding.

Simple rules of self promotion

  • Have regular interaction and performance dialogue with your bosses
  • Be realistic about your achievements. You cannot possibly be a top performer all the time
  • Showcase skills you are genuinely good at and take ownership of failures
"There is a personal brand you carry. It is for employees to highlight areas they are good at," Sen says. He recalls an incident at a consulting firm many years ago. His team was working on a project that was almost certain to miss its deadline, as the project's "owner" was facing a personal emergency. A team member came up to Sen and told him that he had worked on the elements of the project. "If you give me 48 hours and give me ownership, I will turn it around," this individual said. Even so, the project was completed a day behind schedule.

Sen remembers that individual, not because he saw it as an attempt at self-promotion, but because the employee had the guts to take charge in a crisis. "That is the best form of personal branding," he says.

For starters, you can have a regular interaction and performance dialogue with your boss. Get a formal progress report twice a year and if you are able to get it four times, nothing like it. That will give you a chance to showcase your skills.

Bansod has worked out a formula while working as a people manager. He says 75 per cent of your contributions should be work and 25 per cent should come from sharing it with your boss and communicating it to the organisation. That is because you need to shout over the chaos for your work to be noticed. Your boss may have too many demands on her to find time for each individual. Go in for a realistic branding. Tell your bosses what you have been working on and what you have accomplished. It is all about facts and not about bragging. Take ownership, even in not the best of situations. If you show willingness to handle crises, it has a great impact.

And while showcasing your talent, do not forget your juniors. "I often see people self-promote with only seniors, but successful people do it laterally and even with their juniors," says Sen.

In these times of a 360-degree feedback, 'all I need to impress is the boss' is a short-sighted course.

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