|Volume 1: No. 15|
Not everyone wants to advance, and you may not see self-promotion as necessary. Still, it can help save you from the ax in time of cutbacks, and may save you from unfair action by a new or irrational boss. Marilyn Moats Kennedy, in "Office Politics: Seizing Power, Wielding Clout," suggests that every employee keep a weekly log of accomplishments -- and that every manager encourage the practice. It can be used when writing your self- evaluation prior to formal evaluation by your boss, and also when documenting your worthiness for a raise. Marilyn also suggests the following:
1) After every project or milestone, send a one-page memo to your boss describing the accomplishment. (Save a copy, of course.)
2) Stay on good terms with the secretaries, and make sure they know how productive you are. Secretaries have considerable influence on their bosses. (It is a serious mistake for professional women to cut all ties to lower-ranked women.)
3) Submit press releases to business papers read by your top people.
4) Speak frequently to professional groups. Let your boss know about it, especially if you were asked to speak.
5) Recruit a mentor who will help you become more visible. (It can take six months to two years to set up contacts with a high-level mentor. Research the individual, then join the right associations, work on the right committees, and perhaps play the right sports. Display assertiveness, humor, negotiating ability, and honesty. There is a tendency for men at the top to mentor either women who are exceptionally bright and ambitious or promising young men who are like themselves.)
6) Seek visibility through charity crusades, submissions to the company newsletter, etc. (Such activities also give you an excuse to visit people's offices and chat with them, strengthening your place in the information networks.)
7) Use trade shows to reach competitors. Word may filter back to your own organization about an impressive performance. (Contacts in competing organizations can also be great information sources. You wouldn't discuss trade secrets, of course, but rumors from outside are exceedingly valuable nuggets for your own grapevine.)