Promote Yourself: A book review by Bob Morris

PromotePromote Yourself: The new rules for building an outstanding career
Dan Schawbel
St. Martin’s Griffin (2013)

Here’s a book for those who have no clear career roadmap and are willing to invest time and effort to advance their

Why did Dan Schawbel write this book? According to Marcus Buckingham in the Introduction, speaking directly to the reader as does Schawbel throughout the book, “Dan will show you how to communicate your unique contribution, so that you make yourself indispensable. [I am of the opinion that so-called `indispensable’ people are almost always bottlenecks.] In this competitive world, he will ensure that you highlight your strengths for all to see. As the workplace continues to transform, your personal brand is the key to your success. Be the best version of you – and let everyone else marvel at that value.”

Schawbel provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that will enable his reader to (a) understand a “new workplace” and its “new rules,” (b) to accelerate both personal growth and professional development to achieve peak performance in that marketplace, and (c) meanwhile, attract the attention of associates by producing results that earn their respect, trust, and admiration. In Chapter 5, Schawbel identifies and discusses six rules for self-promotion:

1. Make yourself worthy of being talked about.
2. Become well-known for must-have expertise, a specialty, on which others depend.
3. Take responsibility (i.e. “Be your own publicist”)
Caution: But without bragging.
4. Find ways to expand your role and increase involvement in key operations.
5. Make others look good — especially your supervisor.
6. Create some evangelists. [See #2]

Schawbel stresses throughout his narrative that attention and admiration must be earned and thus deserved. I share his contempt for “careerists” and “politicians” who have little (if any) concern for anyone else. The peak performers he has in mind have a strong sense of teamwork. They celebrate others’ achievements. Although not always in a supervisory position, they help others to perform better.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Schawbel’s coverage.

o New Workplace, New Rules (Pages 7-12)
o Impact of Millennials on the Workplace (19-23)
o Become the Expert Your Company Can’t Live Without (50-57)
o Assess Your Soft Skills, and, Ways to Improve Your Soft Skills (56-61)
o Building Relationships (68-70)
o “Soft Skills Are Life Skills, and, Master the Soft Skills to Become the Person Everyone Wants to Be With (78-79)
o Creating Your Own Online Identity (87-99)
o The Net Is for Networking (109-114) and also check out Pages 172-174.
o Six Rules of Self-Promotion (131-133)
o The Hardest Skills to Find (145-148)
o The Four Generations: Who Are These People Anyway? (153-156)
o The Five Rules of Relationship Building (169-171)
o Tips for Networking (172-174)
o Leveraging Passion: How to Do It (193-194)
o Entrepreneurs Make the Biggest Impact and Get Ahead Faster (216-217)

The title of one of Marshall Goldsmith’s recent books correctly suggests “what got you here won’t get you there.” I presume to add that whatever got you here won’t even keep you “here,” wherever that is. What we have in this volume is just about all the information, insights, and counsel that anyone needs to get to their “there.” There are two groups that will probably derive the greatest value from the material in this book: those who are preparing for a career in business or have only e barked on one, and, those who are well along in what has become a stalled or stale career and need to re-direct and re-energize it.

Before concluding his book, Dan Schawbel offers a recommendation that makes a rock-solid recommendation: “”Do one thing every day — add a new skill, share a new idea with your group — that will advance you. Developing this ‘One Step Forward a Day’ habit will keep you current, make you feel more fulfilled and confident, and increase your value. It also will make you more creative and fulfilled when you’re not working. And it will ensure that you do 365 things during the next twelve months to improve yourself.”

Dan Schawbel’s comments remind me of how the new leaders of the LEGO Group saved their company: “one brick at a time.” They also remind me of a proverb from China: “When is the best time to plant a tree? One hundred years ago. When is the next best time? Now.”

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