When it happens, you’re on your way. It happens more for blokes that it does for women, and women are less inclined to tap than men.
When it happens, the effect is immediate.
The tap is a propellant into the future; an accelerant to the top of the ladder.
The tap is evidence that you’ve been noticed and regarded as ‘most suitable’, ‘reliable’, a ‘safe pair of hands,’ ‘results focused,’ ‘politically astute,’ ‘strategic,’ able to ‘say the right thing in the right way’ by a key decision maker – using criteria that reflects the cultural values of the organisation you work in.
You know those who’ve been tapped, they explain it with: ‘I was asked to apply’, ‘I was appointed’, ‘I was considered the best candidate…’
How do you position yourself for the tap?
Not by being the best at the job, necessarily, but by being seen to deliver what the organisation values, in a way that’s familiar to the dominant group.
This means you must pay attention to what gets valued and how things are done:
– What is the dominant style? Are people competitive, collaborative, acquiescent, individualistic, team focused?
– Who gets recognised and why? Do people get rewarded for great ideas, conservatism, creativity, innovation, managing risk, making the boss look good, winning new clients?
– What’s your organisation’s mission? To make a profit, develop policy, achieve market share, make others look good, deliver a service?
* move to an area or a role where you can deliver whatever your organisation most values: revenue, policy, program delivery, customer service, research or whatever it is.
* adapt your style to reflect that of the dominant group. This doesn’t mean you change who you are – it means adapting what you do to give you the most chance of getting heard and noticed.
* tell people about the results you deliver and use words that help people notice! For example, ‘this project required my team to be creative, innovative, manage the risk… to achieve the results’
Women are adaptable, but we avoid adapting our style to model behaviour we don’t feel comfortable with. We are observant, but we don’t always use our observations to help us succeed.
To position yourself for the tap, deliver what your organisation values most in a way that replicates the behaviour of the dominant group.
It’s that easy.