Thursday, October 2, 2008

When Good is Not Enough

There are precious few opportunities to advance in today’s organizations. Promotions are fiercely competed for and if you think that doing your best work is going to be good enough – you are sorely wrong. And, according to author and executive Keith Wyche, if you happen to be a minority the bar you have to clear is simply that much higher.

Once again on Marketing News Radio we had a great show targeted to anyone who wants to move up the corporate ladder. Though my guest brought the perspective of what his journey has been like as a minority, the lessons learned are for anyone -- regardless of background, race, creed, or color.

Joining me on the program was Keith Wyche, president of US Operations for Pitney Bowes Management Services and author of Good is Not Enough: And Other Unwritten Rules for Minority Professionals. We spoke about what it takes to advance in your career, and what minorities need to pay attention to.

What I found remarkable was the spirit in which Keith shared his thoughts. Though he was able to provide research highlighting the continuing inequality of pay and advancement for minority professionals and women, he really emphasized the progress that's been made over the years. He is hopeful and full of energy, not someone embittered by past injustices or disappointments.

In addition to highlighting the results from a survey of senior leadership of what they look for in "promotable employees" (listen to segment three for this discussion) Keith offered up a simple and powerful model for all professionals to consider. Most professionals, says Wyche, focus on performance as a means to get ahead. After all, that's what we're told: Working hard is the key to success. But Wyche suggests that performance is only 50% of the equation. The other half is split between Exposure and Perception. His PEP model has practical application for anyone looking to increase their chances of career advancement.

A highly engaging book filled with stories of real people who were able to adjust their game plan and succeed, and a few sprinkles of those who didn't. After reading the book to prep for the show, I immediately sat one of my staff down (who happens to be a minority), reviewed the PEP model, and gave him my copy of the book. I went out and bought another copy for my reference -- it's that good. Click here for a free exerpt.

-- David Kinard, PCM

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