“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin
can be defined as the ability to consistently eliminate barriers to personal
and professional success. African Americans often experience unique challenges
as they enter the corporate arena and attempt to play the game according to the
rules that they’ve been given. Go to school, get your education. Just get your foot in the door. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Try to fit
in. Don’t make waves.
How do you transfer what you know and your experiences to the organization and find success? It would be great to have a mentor. Ask for one, find one, follow-one from a distance if you have to. Ultimately it will take self-awareness, self-leadership, and internal drive to help African American employees gain the confidence needed to build both visibility and credibility in the organization. It's not confidence in one's ability that is usually lacking. You need the faith and confidence that your value will be seen and the worth of your contributions will be evaluated fairly.
Having the right degree, from the right school, and the right skill set isn’t always enough. How do you gain access to the closed doors or a seat at the table? Winning at the business game means understanding how to play the game, knowing how you add value, and learning to demonstrate and communicate that value in ways that get you noticed. Understant that there will always be challenges, deal with them head on and put most of your energy into developing a strategic plan to move your career forward. Rather than waiting for a mentor or permission to advance your career, we give you the tools to plan, manage, and create opportunities.
There are six steps that you can take to increase your visibility and value in the organization. Look at each step that's outlined and do a self-assessment. How well are you doing at each step? Where are you the strongest and weakest? Where do you need the most assistance? Who can you reach out to for help?
Start a conversation. Find at least five people and initiate the conversation. You will be surprised what you will find out and how you can grow a network of support to help you develop in each of these areas. Once you have identified your five people start talking about where you are and how they can work with you to:
1. Set strategic career goals.
2. Link your personal and professional goals to the organization goals.
3. Build a network across racial and cultural barriers.
4. Communicate in business terms that get attention.
5. Track your accomplishments and clearly articulate your results. .
6. Sell your ideas and influence decisions.
If you feel you have contributions to make to the business — these steps will help you to act in ways that gains the right attention so that others listen to you. This is not a one and done. Continue working through these steps until this behavior becomes a productive habit. You got this.