I have spent the last few weeks working through the pages of Joel A. Garfinkle's latest book, Getting Ahead - Three Steps to Take Your Career To The Next Level. I say "working" because this book is full of great insights, stories, and practical action steps one can take to move forward.
Garfinkle's model is simple and is divided into three parts: Improve your perception, Increase your visibility, and Exert your influence. But his methodology is not simplistic at all. If you want to develop your leadership and increase your odds of future success - you'll have some work to do. This book helps you know what kind of work that will entail.
Each section contains a wealth of anecdotes, quotes, and powerful questions for you to reflect and evaluate your own efforts. There are concise summations at the end of each section, along with a list to "Take Action Now." Each of these provides an important review to make sure you don't miss out on the key points Garfinkle is emphasizing. The book also provides a wide variety of charts and graphs, both to share important data and to demonstrate how concepts may relate to each other.
Overall, the book is a great guide to get you noticed within your workplace. I did wrestle a little bit with the author's depiction of a leader in the section on increasing one's visibility. While it was offered within the context of getting noticed and getting involved, I felt like it didn't leave much room for the quiet, behind-scenes-type leader who may lead with a more introvertive style rather than always being the one who is up front. I did appreciate how Garfinkle brought the concept of leadership up again later in the book as he related it to the level of one's influence. Influence becomes the means by which one advances to higher levels of responsibility and recognition within an organization or group.
Finally, one of the most helpful parts of the book, in my opinion, is the valuable guidance Garfinkle gives in improving one's perception (of you by others). At one point, he provides with ten specific steps you can take to "reinforce a positive perception and/or change a negative one." Some of the advice includes:
- Be assigned to highly visible projects at work. - Educate management about what you do and what your position is in the company. - Surround yourself with people whom others respect. - Know the impact you have on others. - And six others
I came away from this book greatly encouraged to take more responsibility for the impressions I make in my working environment. Good things aren't just going to magically fall in my lap. Most of the time, it will happen as the result of doing the right things. A lot of those right things are listed out in Joel Garfinkle's book.