I worked at General Electric (GE) for 16 years and learned a lot during my time there. GE invested a lot in developing their people.  One of the models they used back in 1999 for your career development plan was one that I still share with mentees of mine today. This model can polarise people, as its premise is that performance and doing a great job will only get you so far. So read on, and let me know what you think.

“The PIE Model” to include in your career development plan

The PIE Model details 3 aspects of your career that you should focus on in your career development plan if you want to progress your career.

1. “P” stands for “Performance”.

  • This is about doing a great job. Outcomes matter
  • Pretty obvious, but to progress your career you need to deliver great outcomes for your customers, people and / or business
  • Most women focus heavily, even solely, on this aspect. They figure that if they do a great job, others will notice and they will get recognised for it. It would be great if that were the case, but unfortunately this does not always happen in reality

2. “I” stands for “Image”.

  • This is about how you show up and present yourself at work and in meetings
  • It covers variables that build your reputation at work irrespective of whether you’re actually doing a good job or not
  • It covers things such as how you dress, how you speak, how you conduct yourself in tough situations and what you are known for
  • There are obvious things to watch out for here, such as thinking through what your clothes say about you at work. I wish what people wore wasn’t even a discussion point.  Unfortunately though it can overshadow performance if that’s what your colleagues focus on for the wrong reasons
  • Another watch out for many women is how you engage in debate or offer up your opinions in a meeting. Think about whether you say any of these phrases before giving your opinion: “Sorry, but can I just ask …?”, “I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not but …” or “Um … this probably won’t work but …?” If you do use these phrases, try to catch yourself next time and don’t say them.  If you don’t back your ideas, why should anyone else?

3. “E” stands for “Exposure”:

  • This is about the right people knowing about the outcomes you / your team have achieved and who you are
  • It’s about being authentic while also sharing your / your team’s work and value to the business with decision makers / leaders in your business / people you can learn from / people who can influence your career opportunities
  • It is NOT about exposure to senior leaders for the sake of it, taking credit for others’ work or superficial networking. It’s about being yourself as well as owning your achievements and qualities that add value to the business
  • There are 2 simple exposure opportunities that have been drilled into me from my GE days that you can put into practice today. The first is to offer to present to other teams on what you / your team are doing. We can all benefit from practising our presentation skills.  It gives you the opportunity to meet new people in the business and also share your work. The second is to be curious.  Ask questions when others present to you, when you’re on an “all employee call” or you bump into leaders in the lunchroom

I wish that “image” and “exposure” didn’t matter that much.  However, over the years I’ve found that they do.  I’d rather know this though in order to focus on all aspects of the “P.I.E.” rather than just keep working as hard as I can tucked away in the corner.

Do you think the PIE Model holds true? What do you see as the key aspects that have progressed your career?
Related posts you may like: