Our Shop Window is Always Open
Ever wonder why and how some people get promoted more quickly than others? Or are presented with more opportunity?
One key reason is that they recognise that our shop window is always spotless.
What do we mean by that? In any working environment, there's a lot to think about all the time, and one important aspect of this is how we’re seen and perceived. Easy to think for leaders, especially when we think about the old adage, ‘Lead by Example,’ our customers and employees expect us to be, behave, act and dress in a certain way.
However, people often misunderstand that the shop window has always been and always will be open, meaning, quite often individual contributors don’t realise that the shop window is open long before they become a leader and often influences when and how you get promoted.
Everything you do gets perceived by somebody, and it can delay or permanently damage your career prospects if you're not projecting the right things out all the time. This isn’t saying that you should falsify anything that you're projecting, or hide your feelings and opinions, but you need to be aware that the things that you say and the things that you do, and the example you set, are the things that will either attract people to promoting you and hiring you or detract people from promoting and hiring you. It is all about how you conduct yourself and approach problems and your team members at all levels.
More so than ever today, you are your personal brand, and if you are serious about your career, this is something that you need to be constantly aware of. It shouldn’t be something that stresses you out, or makes you inhibit your spirit, but you do need to remember, at the back of your mind at least, that the shop window is always open.
So, what are some of the things we should be thinking about day in, day out, to ensure our shop window remains tidy, healthy and ready for our chance for the next promotion?
Social Media & Having a Voice
Two things have changed since in the last twenty years, when most current company CEO’s were up and coming in their profession. The first is the advent of social media. People play out their lives, professional and private in a public domain. The second could also be a byproduct of the social media revolution, the younger generations now have a voice, are much more outspoken and freely express their ideas, beliefs and gripes, both personally and quite frequently, about the organisation that they work for.
Whilst it is great that people now feel that they can express themselves and are prepared to stand up and vocalise their beliefs and feelings, social media these days cannot be separated from your professional life, it doesn’t operate on a 9-5 basis, it is always out there for people to see.
There have been many examples of this recently where comments made on twitter by celebrities have resulted in the loss of a role / job. Photos and comments are eternal, so thinking about what/when you present yourself on social media early to avoid any long-term brand issues – sounds obvious, but imperative today.
Let Others Have a Voice Too
The extroverts are chomping at the bit to get back with people in the office environment. Which will drive so much energy for collaboration.
However, one of the most impactful things you can do to help your career is to ensure others are heard.
As you grow in your career, the need for others to voice their opinions, be heard and know they have an impact, will lead to greater followership. Followership is the greatest achievements of any leader.
Followership from your peers especially can be one of the greatest honours. When your peers follow you, your superiors will notice, and this will have a huge impact on your shop window.
Dressing for Success
The advent of the pandemic has reduced our need for suits and the ultra-smart outfit – however how you dress can have a material impact on your career within your organisation and industry too.
Even on Zoom.
It’s been too easy in lockdown to be slightly less presentable than we may have been in the pre-COVID world, however, the importance of looking ‘groomed’ and clean (!) is important to leave a good lasting impression.
I say groomed, as I am a big believer that as you can be individual and purposeful with your dress without having to be a stereotypical office worker from The Wolf of Wall Street.
The thing about being ‘groomed’– is when you catch yourself in the mirror – this will lift your self-esteem – which is something we have talked about before in this article.
Designing the Shop Window
As we think about the next phases of our careers, we face a slightly higher step than normal as our repatriation to the office environment occurs, we should consider our shop window and target for our personal brand:
· What do I want to be known for?
· Where do I want to get to?
· How do I act every day?
· Am I being authentic?
· Does my behaviour point to the destination that I want to get to?
Are you being the best representation of your true self? Are you representing the leader/role you want to be next?
Remember, if you want to get on in your career, be ready for that next step today.
Our shop window is always open.
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