Want to accelerate your career? Then stop neglecting your internal PR! Not doing your own internal PR can be incredibly costly to your career progression in a firm. In fact, get it wrong, and you may find yourself out of a job! Sounds dramatic, I know, but I have had so many clients get busy and prioritise their external marketing strategy over their internal communications, and trust me, they regretted it not long after. If you want to accelerate your career, you have to work on your internal communications and relationships. Here’s why.
What do I mean by your internal PR?
A partnership is a collegiate environment, often with a very loose matrix structure. The lines of reporting are normally dotted, and anyone in the firm can find themselves working in a client team with anyone else. As a result of this, your ability to progress your career and get assigned to the best clients, or delegate effectively down to your team, is driven by your reputation and profile in your firm, i.e. how well you do your own internal PR.
When I talk about internal PR I am not talking about sucking up or schmoozing your way around a firm. I’m talking about ensuring your internal market value is as high as possible.
How can you generate good internal PR?
Play the team game
In my experience, firms are always stressed because they have too much client work or not enough client work. Consequently, everyone always maintains that they are really busy (and this is normally the case). People who ‘don’t take one for the team’ or are seen to not be ‘mucking in’ can start to get peoples’ backs up. No one is asking you to become a doormat, but do make sure that you are seen to be playing the team game.
Look after your team
As you become more senior in a firm, you need to have people willing to work for you. I have heard cases where people have been turned down for partner because of their poor relationships with the level below them. Remember, you need the juniors on your side just as much as they need you on their side. Regularly schedule some 1:2:1 time with the people you have working on your clients. These conversations are not just about client work; expand the conversation to see how you can help them with their agenda.
In Chapter 19 of How to make partner and still have a life, we examine how to motivate your team, as well as leading it to success.
Pick an influential mentor
I can not emphasise this one more highly. Having someone in the partnership who is rooting for you at the partnership table and watching your back is essential for you and your career. Especially if you want to accelerate your career or make partner as quickly as possible.(Here’s essential help to finding the right mentor for you)
Get feedback little and often – and then ACT on it
Far too many people have throttled their career progression by not getting regular feedback from all their key stakeholders. Having poor self-awareness will hold your career back.
Having been around the professions for 10 years now, everyone knows that each person has different strengths, weaknesses and particular eccentricities. In fact, people are fairly forgiving of most eccentricities, as long as it doesn’t impact client service. What people don’t forgive is when you receive feedback about your performance and don’t act on this feedback.
Let the partners know when you get positive feedback
When you do get positive feedback, especially from clients, do forward it to your assignment manager or appraising partner. One of the worst career crimes you can do in a partnership is hiding your light under a bushel.
Use internal PR to accelerate your career
It’s wise to remember that all internal communication is internal PR, which has immense value to your career progression. Get it right, and you will be seen as a team player and someone who is ‘partner-material.’ Get it wrong, and you could put the brakes on your career development.
While your internal PR is a time investment, it is more than worth it when you are ready to move up the ladder. Try these 5 strategies, and you’ll see how many people you’ll have in your corner when the time comes.