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Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level
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Book Discussions > Getting Ahead by Joel Garfinkle - September 2013

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Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments This is our official discussion for our September book.


message 2: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments I’m extremely excited to begin the discussion on my book Getting Ahead. As the author, I’m curious what action have you taken at work that had direct impact on advancing your career to the next level?


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Joel, today I finished the first chapter and started the second. In the introduction I was really impacted by what you said about the 4 factors to moving ahead in your career (I think you had a better name for them). Performance, Perception, Visibility, and Influence. I was struck by the idea that while performance is important it is also widely discussed and trained. The other three (which make up your PVI model) have no formal discussion or training.

This foundation concept was really powerful. I'm excited to dive deeper!


message 4: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Too often many books and trainings in the corporate world discuss and focus on performance. Performance is important. However, most people I work with already have a solid baseline of performance.

What they DON'T do is focus on improving perception, increasing visibility and exerting more influence at work. These three areas must be focused on to help employees to continue to thrive and grow careers to the next level.


Casey Wheeler (caseywheeler) I also have read the Intro and Chapter One. I agree with Jacob that the info is interesting, but I do have a question about the Upper Management Table. I understand the example given in Chapter one about a company having to reduce size and keeping the individual deemed to be more of a team player. My experience has been that in the majority of these cases the company keeps the individual whose division or department is contributing the most to the bottom line regardless of the other items listed in the chart. In cases where downsizing is not the issue, it was lack of performance due primarily to lack of leadership rather than a lack of influence, perception or visibility that led to the parting of the ways. I understand that the assumption is that performance is proven and there when an individual reaches Upper Management, but the Peter Principle still plays a pertinent role in far too many organizations. I am hoping that my conundrum will be addressed and/or clarified later in the book.


message 6: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Casey, you bring up a good point. Yes, the bottom line contribution of the division/department is often a measurement of success. However, let's assume performance and contribution are equal which is often the case I see with my Upper Management clients. What distinguishes a department, division and even the employees is how well they create a positive perception of themselves and making sure their impact and value is being made visible. When this isn't done, the department can be seen as not providing as much value - same goes for the employee.


message 7: by Ken (new) - added it

Ken  Van Horn (kenvanhorn) | 2 comments It just struck me that perception, visibility and influence are collectively called "politics."


message 8: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Ken, why do you say this? Which part of the book gave you this impression.


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Ken  Van Horn (kenvanhorn) | 2 comments I served for ten years as an elected official. "Perception is reality" is a proverb in politics. Maintaining your leadership position requires maintaining visibility. People have to see you doing the right things. As an elected official you quickly learn the difference between real authority and influence. Influence was vital because someone else controlled my budget. The more I could shape someone else's decision making, the more easily I could gain the resources i needed to meet my own goals.
In my mind those three things--perception, visibility and influence--describe my ten years in politics.


message 10: by Casey (last edited Sep 05, 2013 09:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Casey Wheeler (caseywheeler) I really liked Table 3.1. It's the first time I've seen the issue laid out in a clear, concise manner. My question is how does one navigate the internal political minefield when trying to self promote using the 10 options in Chapter 3. I have seen where this has caused individuals to be perceived as conceited, self serving, impatient, arrogant and other less friendly descriptions. Tact is critical as it can easily backfire.


message 11: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Ken wrote: "I served for ten years as an elected official. "Perception is reality" is a proverb in politics. Maintaining your leadership position requires maintaining visibility. People have to see you doing t..."

Interesting experience with your 10 years in politics and how relevant the PVI Model was to your experience. I can see how vital influence was. You had to persuade, get-buy and collaborate.


message 12: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Casey, see page 117 and 118 in the book. It talks about the "bad reputation of self-promotion" and directly talks about how you can be negatively perceived. I state in the book, "A lot of people don’t know how to effectively self-promote
and fear that it may come across as arrogance. However, if people don’t know you, your work will go unrecognized—and your career will suffer accordingly. You’ll be overlooked and unnoticed. This is why it is vital to let people know of your
achievements and their impact."


message 13: by Pablo (last edited Sep 08, 2013 12:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pablo Rognone | 5 comments I just finished the chapter 2, and I like how the Perception is being approach.
I definitely believe that a Perception could be totally subjective and still is one of the most important factors for all; specially in business. A company can have a superb product, reliable, on excellence levels in service and quality but if for any reason has the wrong perception by the customer, or even worse by the market, it won't succeed.

The same rule apply for people, where in this case WE are the products.

Back to book, what I expect from this book is to identify potential aspects on my personality to further develop and improve, and I've found in my own case, I should work on the speaking impact, I mean clearness of the sentences, questions and answers; specially when this dialogues are not 100% prepared in advanced.
So, I would appreciate if Joel (or anybody else) in the group could recommend some literature about this matter.

...looking forward to keep going through the next chapters....


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Pablo wrote: "I just finished the chapter 2, and I like how the Perception is being approach.
I definitely believe that a Perception could be totally subjective and still is one of the most important factors for..."


Pablo, you just turned a light on in my head. The PVI model can apply to companies and organizations as it relates to their brands in a market place. Joel, I imagine this is not really the purpose of you book to address but the PVI model does apply universally in that sense correct?


message 15: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Yes, the book does apply universally. I have presented the PVI Model to organizations, divisions and groups in which we take each part of the model and move it from individual focus to group/company focus - how is the group/company being perceived, what kind of visibility does the group/company have and how can the group/company exert more influence in the marketplace.


message 16: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Pablo wrote: "I just finished the chapter 2, and I like how the Perception is being approach.
I definitely believe that a Perception could be totally subjective and still is one of the most important factors for..."


Here are a couple of articles I would recommend. Also, toastmasters can help with the areas you mentioned.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/10/how_t...

https://www.openforum.com/articles/12...


message 17: by Jay (new)

Jay Oza | 137 comments I just started reading this book.

Here is the first question that Joel asks:
What Makes One Person More Successful than Another?

Just recently I wrote two blogs comparing what made Barack Obama successful over Hillary Clinton that you may find interesting. I obtained most of the material from the book "Game Change." I will try to map the PVI model to Barack Obama in another post once I make more progress though this book.

But for now take a look at these two posts:

Blog: Lesson from Barack Obama on How To Get To the Top: http://bit.ly/18QBN1D

Blog: Lesson from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: http://bit.ly/18QBN1D


Susan Beamon (susanbeamon) | 18 comments Hi. I have finished chapter 5. I find the book builds on itself, first showing the problem the lack of the section of PVI being discussed, and then explaining steps a person or a company can take to correct that problem. Personally, I am about as introverted as you want to be. It seems to bother other people more than t bothers me, but that doesn't mean I don't want to lessen the effect that part of my personality as on my public face. I am glad to see that you did address the reality that visibility is hard for most introverts. A good many of the self-help books I've read seem to act as if the introvert just tried harder to be an extrovert, all would be well. Kind of like if I tried hard to be a guy, I would have more success in business.
I am not sure how this program, PVI, translates to the front line sales clerk. Running a cash register doesn't appear to me to lend well to e-mailing your bosses boss.


message 19: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Hi Susan,

Thanks for your comments. Yes, i have worked with many introverts and it's surprising how little support they receive in companies. They are left alone to survive without an understanding how best to navigate the corporate landscape that rewards the most visible and extroverted.

Research does show that introverts, not prone to self-promotion, typically have more trouble than their extraverted colleagues rising through the corporate ranks. Thus, it’s even more important that introverts embrace the concepts outlined in the book. It will give them the competitive advantage they are lacking in the workplace due to the introverted nature.


message 20: by Diana (new)

Diana (ladydianab) | 1 comments Hello! I am on the third chapter and I have to say right from the start that I am reading with a chip on my shoulder but I have an open mind. In the last month I have watched one friend dismissed from her position in a University setting. She was making too much money and getting closer to late middle age. A second friend was "led" to retirement with a buyout. A third friend was just fired today with the announcement that the position was eliminated.

Each of these people were engaged with their job, working diligently, yet the evident perception of these individuals was they weren't an asset to the "company". There were other employees that could be paid much lower salaries.

I have seen in my career the complete jerk who was "visible" , made friends with boss over drinks and with little visible skills promoted to a position with a raise but had no idea how to do the job but gladly took credit for others work.

I love business, I would love to find a position like the ones that I read about in business books that are bestsellers; but I have not. I know they exist. Sadly, the owners, managers of most businesses are not the ones reading these books. It is employees, like I am, who read them.

I am otherwise really enjoying the book! I keep brushing off the dust from that chip on my shoulder so the message can get through. Now, on to the next few chapters.


message 21: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Hi Diana,

Thanks for your honesty. I am glad you are reading the book with an open mind AND a chip on your shoulder. I did write this book in order for people like yourself to feel empowered so that the situations you describe won’t impact your career success. This book is your competitive advantage so you aren’t being passed over for promotions or set-up to fail due to lack of exposure or visibility.

Key Point: if you do everything I outline in the book (all the action steps), you will be ensuring that your career would continue to advance. You wouldn’t be at the mercy of others not knowing you or your value. You would be seen, known, recognized and promoted.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Diana wrote: "Hello! I am on the third chapter and I have to say right from the start that I am reading with a chip on my shoulder but I have an open mind. In the last month I have watched one friend dismissed f..."

Diana, I like your comment. I think that the PVI model is applicable regardless but it can have a negative reverse effect in promoting talent that is lacking in the fourth Performance category.


message 23: by Jay (new)

Jay Oza | 137 comments Diana,

Good comment.

The only true advantage we have is that we have to be the next best alternative. Today that means being better than automation, outsourcing and temps. Whatever makes an individual the next best alternative, you have a full time job, if not, then you don't. Politics will always be there but companies that don't do this are not going to be able to compete for too long. This does not apply to government jobs where jobs are protected.

Sorry to put this so bluntly, but this is happening to lots of folks today in the private sector and they can't seem to understand this or accept it.

What you raise is a very complex topic that economists, business leaders, politicians, and others are all grappling with. My personal view is that we are moving toward true capitalism where labor (in the way we knew it) is simply not that important.

I think the only way to stay ahead is to be able to learn faster than the rapid change that is taking place; however, learning something new that results in a high paying job is not that easy. By this I mean there is no quick fix here since your skills atrophy over time or become commoditized quickly.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Joel, could you talk about how the PVI model relates to recovering from mistakes or blunders at work? Sometimes performance does slip. What then?


message 25: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Whether it’s your performance slipping, making a grave error, a costly mistake, or an incorrect statement at the wrong time, it’s not always irreversibly detrimental. Such slipups will prompt someone to keep an eagle eye on your performance and behavior—something that you can use to your advantage. You can take this extra attention on what you did wrong and diligently commit to make good on your errors. This is a great opportunity to change people’s perception dramatically. The dedicated effort and actual changes in behavior will create the results that both you and others want.


Susan Beamon (susanbeamon) | 18 comments Finished the book and have been letting it perculate through my brain. I did like that it was not focused so much on selling. I have come to the painful realization that everything involves selling something, be it a product, an idea, or just yourself. I say painful because I am more the shop clerk than the sales(wo)man. I have done direct sales, so I know it is not in my comfort zone.
I hope Jay has had a government job, if he believes they are protected. In my experience, they aren't. We just watch the rules a little closer and make it more annoying to fire us. But the rules covering our employment are just as subject to change as anywhere else. There was a time, not so long ago, when a government employee's, all the way down to trash men or animal control officers, job depended on who had just been elected. In some places, it still does, Check out what's happening in North Carolina.
I have seen hardworking people fired while the boss's buddy, who couldn't find a hold in the ground right in front of him, was promoted. I have also seen the other, where the boss fired his buddy and promoted the successful hard worker. It seems to depend on the boss and what he thinks is necessary. I've also worked at places where nobody has been there longer than two years except the boss. Hit the two year mark and get fired.
I said I am an introvert. I am also the smartalec that sat in the back of the room and shouted out answers and questions during meetings, who said things other people thought but were afraid to say. I tried to never be rude, but I have a low tolerance for fools or brown nosers. I didn't try the soft shoe style of your PVI, mostly because I wanted to be invisible, something my brain didn't allow.
I really enjoyed the part on influence. It is something that is not mentioned in business publications or so much in popular culture except as a bad thing or a manipulative thing. The bad person had undue influence over the poor simple good person sort of thing. Influence is a subtle thing that comes when you have experience. I have generally been surprised when someone told me something I had said or done influenced them to make a change and become more successful.


Pablo Rognone | 5 comments Just finished the Chapter 6, "Speak up..."
I would put myself between the "observer" and the "participant". I had the theory of "if you say something it should be worth (or even outstanding)", otherwise keep quiet. But as the Joel says in the book, speaking becomes unusual so then even when you have a great comment it becomes challenging.
I found very powerful the phrase in the book "...you owe it to your company, you owe it to your career..."

So the point here is to speak up (show up) all the time, the challenge I would say is to speak up WITH QUALITY all the time, in terms of content and with good communication skills.

Any literature that someone could recommend about communication skills???


message 28: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Pablo,

It is empowering to know why you need to speak up. Your company and colleagues need to hear what you have to say. You owe it to yourself to let your ideas be heard and known.

Here's one communication book I would recommend:
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Convers...


message 29: by Jay (new)

Jay Oza | 137 comments Joel,

Why is there little mention of politics in the book? Don't you think it is nearly impossible to get ahead unless you are good at it?

Without knowing the political landscape, you could be wasting lot of time and eventually get frustrated. Politics brings clarity to the situation on what it will take to get things done.


message 30: by Joel (new)

Joel Garfinkle (joelgarfinkle) | 13 comments Jay,

Yes, you do need to be good at politics to get ahead. I took a different angle in my book with the PVI-Model. I feel the entire model can be used and applied with politics. I chose to not use the actual word "politics" because I felt it was overused and people would not be able to hear the key messages in the book if I chose to use the that word. Being good at politics means you are good at creating a positive perception of yourself, you know how to become visible so you can leverage your influence to get things done. The PVI-Model is perfectly situated to be leveraged to handle politics in the workplace.

One point I make in the book shows how influence is used as a method for dealing with politics. I say, "Leaders who use influence are excellent collaborators who bring people together to create solutions. They help everyone to become aligned so that the organization can achieve the desired results. They are able to bring successful coalitions together, and they know how to appeal to people’s needs and turn them into advocates for their idea."


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Hey everyone I published the video and audio from yesterday's webinar on the group site for premium members.


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