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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

Why Your Success Requires You Eat the Whole P.I.E!

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”-Isaac Newton





She was shocked, disappointed, sad, and frustrated when she was passed over for a leadership role. Gloria was a far exceeds high performer. She kept her head down to focus on work, worked diligently on all assignments to ensure excellence, and worked long hours. Gloria felt if she outperformed her peers she would be promoted. But her performance was not enough! Why? At a women’s conference the male guest speaker, asked the audience, “What percentage of your time do you spend on performance, image, and exposure in the workplace?” All proudly and loudly said performance. He began to share that men’s focus is on exposure, then image, and lastly performance which is one of the key reasons for their career and business success. Everyone found out that day that ‘performance only’ would never be enough. Harvey Coleman, author of “Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed”, wrote about the P.I.E. success model and the importance of eating the ‘whole’ P.I.E. to help ensure career growth. Mr. Coleman suggests that you should spend 10% of your time on performance, 30% on image, and 60% on exposure.


Let’s discuss in more detail what it is and how it can be leveraged successfully. PERFORMANCE (10%) – Performance is your price of entry to even be considered for upward movement while also ensuring consistent and sustainable contributions delivered on time. You must be at the top of your game. The components of your performance must be what are your performance objectives, how did you achieve them, and how did you leave others feeling about your contributions. To ensure no surprises, initiate quarterly performance assessments. For people of color and women, performance is not just the price of entry but survival. This is a culturally driven belief that they must perform better than average to remain in the game. This takes more work and results in over-focusing on performance as was demonstrated at the women’s conference.


IMAGE (30%) – Your image is your personal brand, your reputation. It precedes and follows you throughout your career and shapes the perception people have of you. Your responsibility is to build your reputation and create an image that showcases your strengths, communicates your unique attributes, and markets you. The image you project is the story told about you behind closed doors, on social media, and throughout the broader community. For people of color and women, image is mostly focused on physical appearance and speech. But that is not sustainable. More focus needs to be the differentiating elements of image, such as, reputation, trust, risk-taker, transparency, and leadership according to Dr. Vanessa Weaver, author, “Uncovering Your Authentic Self.” You must be intentional about how you position yourself as a valuable connection, leader, and subject matter expert in your field. How would you describe your image?

What would others say? Are the descriptions the same? Accept constructive criticism making any necessary improvements.


EXPOSURE (60%) – Exposure is the engine for Performance and Image. You must be visible and heard by the right people, in the right manner, and at the right time both formally and informally, within the organization and online. The level of exposure informs ‘who has your back’ and ‘who cares’ enough to leverage their influence to support you. You must have a compelling initial story that is short, focused on key points that are memorable and unique. Regular and effective networking is key to your growth and the strength of your image. Networking and making purposeful connections elevate your status, strengthens relationships, and cultivates partnerships. Seek sponsors, mentors, and endorsements. Embrace and initiate opportunities to lead, speak, collaborate, or volunteer internally and with external organizations. You have a responsibility to gain exposure by expressing your desire and taking advantage of opportunities.


Organizations have the responsibility to embolden its culture by requiring and holding leaders accountable to provide visibility and inclusion practices of sponsorship, advocacy, and mentorship. Create a list of the influential people you need to know internally and externally. Ensure they can enhance your credibility, are influential to support current and future endeavors, help broaden your visibility with key players, and willing to connect you with their network. Life is a game and is governed by written and unwritten rules. The rules apply not only to business culture but most organizational cultures. Once you understand the rules, you can begin to be intentional leveraging thoughtful moves and countermoves rather than haphazard ones. How you play the game can be stressful. Now that you know the rules, success will come to those most adept at eating the whole

P.I.E.


“Opportunities do not just happen, you create them.”


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