What if you had to give a presentation about your value to the company you work for? And based on this presentation, you got to keep your job.
You might be brilliant. Perhaps an engineer or someone in HR who holds the place together.
But what if nobody knows your value beyond your immediate manager? And your job came down to your ability to tell your story to the CEO.
How many of you would make the cut?
Let me tell you a story about Jack Welch. He’s the legendary CEO of GE and was notorious for his firing of the bottom 10% of his workers. The folks who didn’t make the cut were not only non-producers but they were also the folks who could not energize others and could not present their own value. He admitted, the choices weren’t always precise. But if a guy can’t justify why he was there, he was gone.
Another story. Employees were terrified to step into an elevator with Steve Jobs because if they couldn’t tell him what value they were contributing to Apple, they were fired before the elevator reached the ground floor.
Your ability to present your ideas is the single most important factor in the growth and longevity of your career. Your ability to sell yourself is the difference between career obscurity and a career where you are recognized for your hard work and brilliance.
I’ve worked with brilliant scientists and engineers who are absolutely passionate about their work but can’t attract the attention to continue it. I have worked with many people with many fantastic stories to tell but can’t seem to tell them well enough. Sadly, this is a lot of people.
What if every company, big or small, suddenly goes into cost cutting mode in anticipation of the next 3 years? How many great people would lose their incomes because they couldn’t convincingly sell their value to their employers? These are usually the folks who work in support or creative roles. They might be folks who were brought on during the good times to support increased sales. But now that sales are forecast to be slim, they’re redundant.
The choice to get better at selling yourself is always available. The second you decide to get better, you start discovering how easy it is to get better.
It’s not just the sales guys who have to sell. Everybody is selling all the time. If you choose to not get better, then you’re choosing to lose to someone who is.
If you can’t tell your story in the workplace, somebody will tell it for you.