Saying Yes to High Visibility Projects – 5 Steps to Success

No matter whether you are just starting out in your career or about to retire, saying “yes” to high visibility projects should be at the top of your list of priorities. For those starting out, it indicates willingness and motivation. It helps mark you out as a future leader.

For mid-career leaders, taking on high visibility projects can accelerate your progression, open up additional responsibilities and opportunities and signal your interest for executive leadership roles. And for those considering retirement, and thinking about a different kind of future, high visibility projects can provide a lasting career legacy while also acting as a beacon for younger leaders.

High visibility projects are important – particularly for women – as a HBR article by Shelley Correll and Lori Mackenzie points out, for those wanting to succeed in a corporate environment, visibility is the single most important factor:

More than technical competence, business results, or team leadership ability — these leaders agreed — visibility is the most important factor for advancement

But before you can say “yes” to a high visibility project, there is some work that needs to be done. Let’s take a look at the five steps to visible success:

1. Start with a small success: We all like to make a “splash”, but taking on a large challenge also comes with risk and additional pressure. Volunteering to present at the national sales kickoff, for example, will put you squarely in the line of sight of your organization’s leadership. They will know your name, voice and the way you move on stage. They will scrutinize your presentation and speech – and this may be exactly what you want.

But leadership is not a single splash. It’s a sustained commitment over time. Start by creating the conditions for visible success, Learn about a new tool or approach and offer to lead its implementation. Run lunchtime sessions for your colleagues to skill them up. Find ways to work this new capability into the everyday workings of your teams.

2. Build your innovation story: Once you have some successes to your credit, begin to connect the dots between them. Look for the story that leads from Project A to Innovation B. Craft the message that weaves business value, capability building and measurable outcomes into a believable narrative.

Leadership sometimes takes a chaotic path – but it is up to the leader to explain how the puzzle fits together. Invest in building your story of innovation, change and achievement in a way that is easy to communicate.

3. Don’t wait, back yourself: Many of us feel uncomfortable promoting ourselves but this is an essential skill for the modern leader. I call this “backing yourself“. After all, if you won’t back yourself, who will?

But there is a great trick for reframing self-promotion – rather than asking for a new assignment or challenging project, identify a business problem that needs solving and pitch your solution to your leadership. Trust in your small successes, craft your story and your pitch and then give it your best shot.

4. Say yes to success while facing down the risk: Earlier this year I spoke with Monica Phillips from the Powerful Conversations Podcast on the topic of innovation and leadership. Around 30 minutes in, I explained how I moved from an externally facing role with global technology firm, SAP to an internally focused technology role at Nike. Now, these were two very different organizations and challenges operating in completely different industries. To say yes to this high visibility opportunity I had to believe in my past successes and back myself to continue to achieve. I had to say yes to success while facing down the risk.

5. Accomplishment, loyalty and passion: There are three foundations that guide and support our lives. They underpin the successes we have at home and at work – and inform every aspect of our lives. Connecting and building on accomplishment, loyalty and passion will lead us to the door of opportunity. Once there, we only need to say “yes”.

Nina Nets It Out: Leadership comes with risks and challenges, as well as rewards. A necessary part of this is saying “yes” to high visibility projects. But how do we get there? Take these five steps to visible success.

This post first appeared at NinaSimosko.com

Nina Simosko

Nina Simosko serves as President and CEO of NTT Innovation Institute Inc. (NTT i3), the prestigious Silicon Valley-based innovation center for NTT Group, one of the world’s largest ICT companies. She previously held executive leadership roles with Nike Technology and SAP, and currently serves on the advisory boards of two early-to-mid stage technology companies: Reflektion and AppOrchid. Nina’s blog, www.ninasimosko.com provides current and aspiring leaders with a forum for ideas and discussion. Follow @NinaSimosko on Twitter.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…
Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…

“Shoulds” are tasks or obligations we take on, accompanied by an inner monologue that goes,

How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto
How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto

Traditionally, a manifesto is a written statement where you publicly declare your… – Intentions (what

Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more
Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more

You probably already had a to-do list longer than a CVS receipt before this global

What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?
What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

Leadership is not about doing more. It’s about switching from doing to leading. From this

100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?
100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?

There’s an entire industry of books and seminars founded on the assumption that if you

20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020
20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020

20 of our favorite leadership quotes by women At Be Leaderly, we’re on a mission

Happy Holidays 2019
Happy Holidays 2019

May your Holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill, and may the year

5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading
5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading

To become a leader, there is a series of key shifts in mindset and behavior

You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths
You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…
Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2020, Be Leaderly