Forget the Hard Work: What Does Your Image Look Like?

ensuring sustainable resources mission. vision. values roles and responsibilities the board/ceo partnership Aug 29, 2022
Hard work vs image, what is more important?


What is your public image?

How do you assess it?

How do you imagine it?

Eric Barker, in Barking Up the Wrong Tree (worth reading!), writes that, according to Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, managing what your boss thinks of you is far more important than actual hard work.


A study shows that those who made a good impression got better performance reviews than those who worked harder but didn’t manage impressions as well.


Perhaps you have noticed the same thing – or even practiced it!


This notion seems to occur to me on a fairly regular basis. Just recently a colleague indicated how much they enjoyed working with a new member of a team. I indicated that they were definitely an interesting and pleasant enough person, but what was their productivity? What had they delivered? This seemed almost irrelevant.


Does “persona” matter more than productivity in your experience?
And which end of the stick reflects you today? Making the impression or being impressed by it?


But let’s notch this up a bit, to your organization.


We know that we need to move our assessments of services from outputs to outcomes and impact. And report these in both quantitative (data) measures and qualitative (stories) measures.


We know that we need to have connections with our decision-makers, exuding authority, while obviously liking at least something about them and engaging in reciprocity on some level. Examples are readily available and have been mentioned in previous blogs.


Will you share this article with a colleague?



So now you have a connection, you like them and you engage in reciprocity (for example, tying your agenda to their agenda).


Now how do you manage your image? What is your image?
How do you reinforce or improve it?


What your funder or policy maker, whether politician, bureaucrat or political staffer, thinks of you is far more important than actual hard work, and at least as important as your impact.


It’s time to reflect on your image. Not your view of your image but actually collecting data, comparing your current image to your preferred image (have you articulated it?) and how to bridge the gap.


Who will lead your discussion?
How will you proceed?

What is your plan?

What are your main “pain points” dealing with your public image?
What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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