Building your brand - Being visibile in a cross ranking environment

Your personal brand and reputation are the most reliable tools for succeeding and being perceived as succeeding in an organization. A lot of people rely on their nearest manager to do the heavy lifting. That can become a single point of career failure. They may move or be moved. They may not have the personality for ratings combat. A better plan is to help them help you when it comes time for new opportunities, promotions, and compensation.  

Cross-group rankings are objective, in theory, but are really a cage match of discussions between management where they put everyone into a pool and rank them against each other.  This means management speaks up about their people to increase perception and question other management about their staff to create doubt about their people's relative position. The best way to come out on top of this is to have strong management and to be visible to others to create familiarity before the process.  This is especially true in environments where the people still around at the end of the year are forced to fit into some type of curve with a fixed percentage at each level of rated competency.  

Your management and others push and question each other when it comes time to make retention, compensation, and retention discussions. You need as many others on your side as you can get. The best people will be buried if they have a weak manager and their capabilities are not well known.  A great manager may not be enough to offset someone invisible.

The workplace is a competitive cooperative environment. It is a cooperative environment because the organization only succeeds if people work together towards the same goals.  It is competitive because promotions, money, and opportunities are based on perceived capabilities and motivation measured in absolute values and relative to other staff.

Building your brand

Building your brand means 
  1. Having a roadmap of today's and tomorrow brand building actions.
  2. Excelling at work on your team in a way that is visible to others.
  3. Helping other teams in cross-functional areas so that their success is partially because of you.
  4. Being visible in management discussions and cross-team communication and projects.
Your manager should help you create a personal brand and become more visible.  It makes them look good and makes it easier in any cross-team discussions. Ask your manager
How can I build my brand?

What can I do to become more visible to others? 

Some situations may be outside your control. Reorganizations or executive leadership changes can disconnect you from those that respect your work.  That can result in a situation where you have to start over. I've been able to move into another group because of a good brand and then had that all vanish as part of turmoil and turnover.  

Contractor life can be different.  They need to impress a smaller set of people to be renewed. 


Identifying good and bad leadership

I had two managers for the same position in the same organization. One of them got promoted quickly but had no direct reports promoted in the two years I tracked them.  The other one asked us regularly 
What are you doing to build your brand to help me push you up at year end ranking time?

The former got mad when we asked questions outside our group. The latter had people follow them to other companies.

Revision History

Created 2024 01


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