Recently we ran a poll during a webinar with the question: Which challenge most relates to women facing a mid career crisis?

We gave the participants options between ”you feel stretched too thin”, to ”a lack of meaning in what you do” and ”you know you could bring so much more but don’t know how”. We got two reasons coming in tops with the first one being:


”I feel frustrated by the lack of progress in my career”


Now there could of course be a multitude of reasons why progress might be stalling for you in mid career and yet there is one reason we see popping up on a regular basis.

We believe that working hard, i.e.great performance, will take us up the ladder.



The three key elements for career success


Unfortunately how well you DO your job has very little to do with how successful you are in your professional career. According to Harvey Coleman’s book Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed it only accounts for 10% of your overall success. Coleman asserts that career success is based on the 3 key elements of Performance, Image and Exposure (a.k.a. PIE):


Performance: this is about the day-to-day work you’re tasked with and the quality of the results you deliver.

Image: this is what other people think of you. Your personal brand. Do you maintain a positive attitude? Do you lead with solutions to issues, or are you the person that solely offers roadblocks when others suggest changes or alternatives?

Exposure: Who knows about you and what you do? Does your boss know what you do? Does their boss know you and what you do? Do others inside and outside your organization know anything about you?


Doing your job well only gets you 10% of the way there!


The more contentious and possibly unsettling aspects of Coleman’s conclusions revolve around the weightings placed on these elements: performance counts for 10% of your success, image 30% and exposure an eye-popping 60%.

Perhaps this is self-evident to some of you, but when I first heard about this it caught me off guard and it still does the same to may of the women we work with. It implies that working hard to deliver great results on what you’re tasked with is far from good enough to progress your career.


Redistributing the PIE


At Azkua we believe that the PIE is in dire need of an update and should be more equally distributed. We have seen too many individuals having been promoted more on what they ‘say’ than what they ‘do’.

But whilst we keep working towards this new reality we shall keep encouraging you to pay attention to your image and especially exposure too.


Am I visible?


So if you are frustrated with your progress at work right now, ask yourself:

  • Do I interact with my peers, superiors and their superiors at work?
  • Do I share individual and team successes with them?
  • Are they aware of the specific projects I’m working on?
  • Do they know of my unique strengths and contributions?
  • Am I taking the opportunity to present in front of them?
  • Do I publish material?
  • Am I visible?


And if the pure thought of tooting your own horn makes you want to run for cover, then make sure to check out our Gentle Ambition programme. During this 8 week online training you will not only learn how to tame your inner critic but also how to embrace your talent, your voice and your power to create the kind of career that will make you look forward to going to work in the morning.


To your success!

Manuela Damant
Visionary Collective Leader at Azkua


At Azkua we are on a mission to turn businesses and organisations into a force for good. And we believe that it is professional women who will be at the forefront of this transformation. Purpose driven, caring, grounded and influential women like YOU!