Your route to the top: Seven ways to get noticed

How can you earn the attention of the top brass - and keep it?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Target the top. Study your organisation's key players. Know their KPIs, hopes and fears, and how past successes and failures have shaped their judgment. Discover their vision for the business, then align your goals and activities with it.

Be radical. When the 1990s recession hit, Nike tripled its advertising spend, while rival Reebok cut back. By the end of the recession, Nike's profits were nine times Reebok's. Identify outdated conventions and inefficient processes, then champion a bold new way. Get results and you'll be impossible to ignore.

Give more. Team project stalling? Offer to lead it. Cold-calling not in your remit? Do it anyway. Going the extra mile shows colleagues that you're ready to take on more. But be strategic. Volunteer only for tasks that will develop the skills you need or make you visible to those who matter.

Set the mood. Be more authentic, more passionate, more sceptical. Whatever you think is needed to establish the right tone, take charge and you'll be noticed for it.

Show output, not activity. Tell business leaders what you've delivered (retail sales boosted, contract won) rather than how you did it (courses attended, the details of your pitch). Display results (and your value) in numbers, ideally pounds , dollars or EUR.

Avoid the well-trodden career path. Think like Sony's CEO, Howard Stringer, whose previous roles include researcher, journalist, TV producer and director. Tomorrow's leaders will have a different set of experiences from today's bosses, and an unorthodox CV will make it harder to compare you with peers. Change roles or companies every couple of years to show employers that you're one to watch.

Stay in the spotlight. Do whatever you're committed to. Send your client the white paper you recommended; make the deadline early. Once you've got their attention, keep it.

- The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 -

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