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Invented Crisis or Good Communication?

Recognize This! –Your employees shouldn’t have to play games to get your attention.

What lengths do you (or your employees) have to go to in order to get noticed in your organization?

Steve Boese related a telling story on the nature of being noticed in the workplace today in his HR Technology blog:

“Then as now, simply showing up on time, getting your job done quietly and efficiently, and not drawing attention to yourself might have been a little more welcome an approach to career management in the eyes of most of our managers, but to us, it never seemed like a strategy that would adequately separate you from the army of similar looking, sounding, and performing staffers that had the same aspirational ambitions as you did. Back then for sure, remaining anonymous would probably only guarantee you one thing, you’d definitely stay anonymous.

“One guy in the group my colleagues eventually settled on a personal strategy to help differentiate himself, a little plan we ended up calling ‘The Invented Crisis’. The details were fairly simple, for every problem you solved, for each even small process improvement you developed, and for any new idea to improve information quality or service levels, you first ‘invented’ and communicated a ‘crisis’, that your eventual solution, (one that you had already figured out), would be the salvation for.  As my friend saw things, there was not much value to solving problems if no one, especially some well-place managers and executives, did not have a sense of the nature and scale of the ‘crisis’, before he stepped in to save the day and deliver a solution. I think his strategy worked to some extent, over time he began to be seen as the kind of person that was a ‘problem-solver’, and occasionally would get assigned some interesting and challenging, (and higher profile), kinds of projects because of this reputation.”

I have to wonder, is this an invented crisis or just good communication (or as some would say, good “managing up”)?

Then again, I question the culture of a company in which an employee is forced to toot his own trumpet in order to get some well deserved recognition. It sounds like this organization could use a healthy dose of strategic recognition – and a total readjustment of their culture to better recognize and – ultimately – engage all employees.

What gets noticed in your organization?

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