Maybe you ever wonder, am I invisible? Nobody seems to see what I do or what I’m worth? My career is going nowhere and is always the fool next to me who gets promoted, while I kill myself at work every day.
Do not worry, you’re not alone, as this is one of the most common frustrations for most employees around the world.
The reason is that despite what we are taught since we are kids, about hard work and discipline being the key to success and recognition, the reality is that this is NOT how it works.
I Got Very Frustrated!
In 1992, when I started off my career in the corporate world, nobody told me what the secret of success was. What I should do if I wanted to move my career upwards.
In fact, most of us – as a result of traditional education, religion and culture – are told that discipline, sense of responsibility and hard work are the keys to professional success. Sorry to disappoint you, but in 99% of cases, it is NOT TRUE!
My dream at age 21 was getting to lead a team of 5-10 sales reps, work for a medium-sized company in my hometown (Valencia, Spain), preferably in the area of sales and marketing; when I look back, I can say I exceeded my own expectations, but it was not thanks to being the most sacrificed guy in the office. Believe me!
In more than 20 years in the corporate world I have learnt many things, but there was one that radically changed my life. The 60-30-10 RULE.
That´s the only reason why my career took off at some point; it all happened in 2005; I wished I had learnt it 10 years earlier, so I could have saved a bunch of hours at work.
Before I learnt about the 60-30-10 rule I always tried to be the one who worked harder and everybody around me seemed to think that harder meant longer hours.
I felt like many people does, enormously disappointment to see that after all that effort, my reward never came, or even worse, the management team always promoted the fool sitting next to me! WHY?
And one day I saw the light!
It was in 2005, just at a time when I needed a change, so I decided to engage myself in an active job search.
During that time I spoke with recruiters, friends and in general everyone I knew, but the person who helped me the most was a professional executive coach who I met in London almost by accident.
She was an expert coach who had helped hundreds of executives and politicians achieve their career goals by transforming their mind-sets in a question of few weeks.
That coach transformed my life, and showed me that I had wasted more than 10 years putting all my effort in the wrong place.
I remember she told me in a very respectful, but transparent manner:
Jordi, if you want to advance your career, you must apply the 60-30-10 RULE!
What is the 60-30-10 rule? I asked:
Her response was also very straight forward: Network, Personal brand and then, Work. You must put 60%, 30% and 10% of your effort to each of these 3 points respectively.
60% of your career success depends on who you know and more importantly, who knows what you know.
Who you know in your organization with enough power to change your career? You have coffee with the CEO? You play golf with the Director of HR?
It may sound harsh and even more so if this is the first time you are told such a thing, but the sooner you digest it and understand how things work, the quicker your career will take off.
If you have no relationship with those people have the influence to give visibility and exposure to your work, it is virtually impossible to get a promotion within your organization.
“Is not about doing the job well, it is about who knows how well you do the job”
80% of all positions recruited are filled via referrals. No kidding.
So deal with it, without a solid network of contacts your chances to get promoted or find your dream job are minimal.
Your personal brand is responsible for 30% of success in the development of your career.
The image you project to those around you is critical to your career success. I don’t mean physical image – which also plays a big role, let’s be honest – I mean how others see us at work, particularly those who may have the opportunity to offer us a job or refer us to someone who does.
What opinion people have of you? Are you admired? Well respected? Are you the leader that everyone wants to follow?
It is essential to transmit an enthusiastic, energetic and positive image. Be collaborative and always try to be seen as someone who adds, never as a burden or someone negative.
You must be someone who contributes to make life easier for people around you – most importantly, the management team – solving problems rather than creating them.
Your work is responsible for 10% of your career success.
I’m not saying that you should quit tomorrow, no!
I’m just saying that the extra effort you may be putting in working long hours, leaving aside personal life, losing touch with friends and family, etc. only helps 10% with your career success, so you need to think carefully whether it is worth the toll you are paying – or that you will sure pay somewhere down the road!
Of course you should always aim to do a good job. That is the basis on which your image is constructed and that will help you develop a wider and stronger network of contacts.
Hard work (Only) will not bring you to the next level. That´s the point.
Moreover, investing 100% of your effort in the amount of hours you work, will cause considerable frustration. This effort will never be rewarded unless someone above you helps you make it visible and translate it into wins for the management team.
Thus, the secret is prioritization. Focus on what truly matters. What are the priorities for the senior management team? Try to find out what projects are more relevant for the management and dedicate any extra effort at work to be part and support those projects.
The 60-30-10 rule: Targets.
I´d suggest you begin by designing a table, describing the three points listed above and noting what actions you can carry out to achieve the objective and how you are going to start allocating your efforts moving forward.
Keep a record of how much time you devote to each of the points above.If you are actively seeking work, note the total spare time you´ve got available each week and then compare it to the time spent by target – 60%, 30% and 10% respectively.
Networking: Target 60%
Invest 60% of your time networking actively.
Networking is not about asking others for help, so before contacting anyone, you must think what you have to offer. How can you make their life easier?
Linkedin is a powerful tool for networking, but if possible, I would also suggest attending events, conferences, meet-ups, etc. so you can meet your target audience in person. Prepare a short introduction highlighting your unique abilities and strengths and what you are looking for. 30 seconds max.
Personal Brand: Target 30%
Invest 30% of your time developing a strong and compelling personal brand.
Creating a strong and attractive personal image takes time and dedication, but above all, it requires the right attitude. Having the right attitude means being prepared to help others when needed and instilling your passion and enthusiasm in every word you put out of your mouth.
Knowledge is key in creating our professional reputation. Invest in knowledge acquisition and share your knowledge with others. You will see how your reputation grows and your personal brand improves dramatically.
Linkedin is also a great source of knowledge and a perfect place to share your experiences and ideas.
Work: Target 10%
This means that if you wish to extend your working hours, you should not spend more than 10% of your spare time at work, even less doing things that no-body seems to care about.
Try to identify management priorities and line up your plan to their plan. This is the most effective strategy you can use, so start by putting the 10% of the time spent at work in finding out what your company’s strategic priorities are.
If you are unemployed and actively seeking, you could try to spend at least 10% of your free time working altruistically (Pro-bono is a good option and is becoming more and more popular in many cities).
You could also offer your knowledge to local for-profit companies, put a value to it ($/hr) and offer them a 100% discount during 3 to 6 months, so they can see the value you could bring and how you can help solve their problems.
Think of it as an investment, as being active you will get more chances to network and improve your personal brand.
Also, in the event that a job opportunity turns up within the companies you collaborate with, they will more likely offer you the job, rather than to another candidate they do not know.
I hope you enjoyed the reading. If you have questions that you want to discuss privately, you can contact me at:email@example.com
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You may also like to read my recent posts on Linkedin.
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Jordi is the Managing Principal Consultant at Key SChain Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in Organizational Strategy, Portfolio Management and Operational Excellence.