The Cloak of Invisibility: Hiding in plain sight.

For a some, a great day is when you can simply come into the office, do your work and go home.  In fact if you can string enough of these days together it can be what seems to be a perfect job.  Highly productive, great focus, little employee contact and no nuisance meetings - what could be better?

Congratulations you just initiated that cloak of invisibility that, while personally satisfying, may be the death knell for your career or your business.  Whoever said, "Out of sight, out of mind!" knew what they were talking about.

For Individuals:

There is no merit to be won by sequestering yourself in a corporate cubicle day after day.  Failure to engage, exhibit leadership, be inquisitive, be supportive of others can mean that you are simply not seen.   By way of example, I had a mentor / employer who taught me to never go to a job site without connecting with someone like the superintendent or client representative.  In fact, even unscheduled visits should be noted in some type of memorandum to all parties only if to mention a few areas of progress and report all is well and on schedule.  Take every opportunity to outwardly promote your project ownership.  

Share your experiences internally by sending memos of "Lessons Learned" or details that work or failed.  Take any challenge as an opening to a conversation and respond professionally.  Openly (but not gratuitously) praise the work of co-workers who have helped you meet a goal or solve an issue.   Ask lots of questions and record the advice of senior staff.  Exhibit your passion for your profession by writing about your experiences in a personal blog or contributing to the company blog or website.  Create artful project imagery to share in Instagram or social media.  

For Practitioners:

Most practitioners, by nature can be more outgoing, but everyone fights the tendency to leave the office or attend outside activities when times are busy and work must get out the door - and many have families they want to see periodically.  Assigning social media posting or marketing processes to someone else in the office or bringing on a firm advisor or mentor, can be a way to do both.  By having an automated system of eBlasts, flyers, social media posting and encouraging staff to Instagram elegant visuals of projects in progress can place you and your firm pointedly in the market place in spite of your physical absence.

However, clients do like to engage with professionals they see and know.  Set aside time to mix and mingle at association events.  Bring "staff in training" so they can learn from the master about how to hold their own in conversations with clients and referral sources.  Teach them how to ask questions that keep the conversation alive and point out that one learns while listening - not talking.  Take time to work the room and see as many contacts, however briefly, that the time allows.  Work the room and have your staff spread out to locate friendly faces, especially talking to folks you may want to meet.  Buy a table and invite clients and referral sources to join your group.  Mix it up.

If invisibility is the death knell, then engagement is the antidote.  The task may appear daunting, but truthfully, taking a systematic approach to self and firm promotion can help employees and employers alike to be successful, well thought of, and engaging while getting the job done.  

William M. Burwell  is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff.  Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years   Bill writes articles sharing his experience in four keystone practice areas: Design; Marketing, Firm Management and Project Management.  He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at www.burwell-consulting.com