Is performance just enough to build a successful career?

"If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks." Leo Burnett
You all would have heard about “Lux”, the Soap. It has had multiple brand ambassador including Hema Malini, Sridevi Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra etc. In India Shahrukh Khan was the first male in a Lux advertisement.  If you think through, does anything significantly change, apart from few asthetics like wrapper/colour/fragrance or the contemporary popular cine star. You will be surprised that nothing much changes with the changes of stars to an extent that we can call it a turnaround. So what has Lux done differently that it is still a popular soap in the market? It has over the period, while maintaining its quality and upgrading, positioned itself again and again in the market and has never gone out of sight to have a permanent mark in the minds of people.

At times you would have wondered why you are not being noticed or appreciated while you are focusing on your deliverable, slogging yourselves, putting those extra hours. You need to reflect, how many times you have projected yourself, tried managing perception about you, or have been vocal about value add you have done. If you are thinking this is not your job, your Manager should be taking care of it, you need be cognizant that people around you would be more interested in themselves and it is you who has the onus of appropriately showcasing your performance without wearing it on your sleeves. Consistent performance with right projection will lead to a perception and requisite perception shall help you get the exposure which will help you create your brand and hence equity (value of your words).

Success is a function of : P (Performance) X P (Projection) X P Perception = Exposure = Image (Brand) = Equity. Let us understand this in detail.

Performance : There is no substitute for Performance. You have to consistently deliver over and beyond, do everything with a sense of urgency and drive to win, challenge status quo, make excellence a habit. LUCK (Labor Under Correct Knowledge) is the key. I was told by one of my senior in GE early in my life that never let your performance dip, treat this as a hygiene and remember my words, your worst of bosses will not be able to impact your career much, the worst that they can do to you is to give you a moderate rating and I have found this so true.

Projection : Somebody asked me in a larger gathering, "I have done what I should have, now projecting my work is not my job. This is the job of my Senior". I asked, "your manager is interested more in whose career? his or yours? Pat came the reply, "of course, his own at first". Hence, it is imperative that we learn the art of managing the operations information flow (projection). 

Perception : When we will manage the operations information flow (Projection) in correct manner, this will help create the desired perception about ourselves. It is also vital that you keep yourselves visible within the group you want to influence. You should invite yourself to parties - make you known, develop mentors, supporters, role models

Exposure : Correct perception about ourselves / our work will enable us to get the right opportunities. I have seen multiple times, particularly in ITES context that would look forward to figure out excellent people managers for assignments where stack are very high. Now what matters most here beyond available facts and numbers is whether you are known to larger audience over and beyond your teams and also how you are perceived by the associates, your managers and your peers.

Brand (Image) : Brand is built over a period of time which requires consistent performance and ability to market yourselves which leads to a perception about you thereby creating an image.
It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual. You need to nurture your network, emulating right leaders is a key to success.  "

Equity : Equity as I understand is nothing but value of your words. When some people say something, people stand up and take note. You would come across many leaders in corporate world / within your own organization whom people listen with rapt attention and try to emulate.

We all want to reach to the level where our role models are, however most of us would not know the road map. In my endeavor to help budding professionals, I will keep sharing my experiential learning in in further posts to come.


  1. Excellent Article, Really pleasure to read such note.

  2. Amazing read and is very true.
    often the development opportunities highlighted in one's career is "Brand yourself" make yourself known to the wider audience, create more visibility... Performance is actually a hygiene factor to keep sailing.

  3. Anonymous3:38:00 PM

    Excellent one..

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