After 25-plus years of working at Kraft in its many iterations and leading teams globally, Susan M. Barber started a coaching business to help people become more visible and advance in their careers. In The Visibility Factor, she leverages what she learned from this endeavor and from personal experiences to help readers achieve their professional goals.
Using the RISE framework, she helps people “reflect” (assess where they are and where they want to be), “ideate” (generate ideas to become more visible), “select” (choose the best brainstormed ideas and determine metrics to measure), and “evaluate” (measure progress and adapt, as needed). She includes relevant action steps at each chapter’s end.
Barber has clearly put deep thought into the elements of visibility and how higher profiles can lead to career successes. In one of her most provocative statements, she notes that career success is 10% related to performance, 30% to image, and 60% to exposure (a.k.a. visibility).
The Visibility Factor is written in a logical, approachable, practical style, and is full of solution-oriented encouragement. Although men can benefit from Barber’s narrative, it focuses more on women’s experiences, including gender-related self-limiting beliefs.
Barber freely discusses the mistakes and fears she experienced on her journey, and while she sounds like an extrovert, she reveals her introversion and offers tips for those who share that personality trait.
The book doesn’t promise a fast or easy process, and because Barber is highly accomplished, examples from her own life may seem unrelatable. (For example, when Barber, as head of Kraft’s IT supplier management team, prepared to fly to India to meet outsourced teams, she was nervous about traveling with the senior executive team for the first time. That may not resonate with people just climbing the workplace ladder.) The Visibility Factor is better suited to people seeking high-level management/leadership positions.
That said, any ambitious worker who follows the suggested steps is sure to benefit from Barber’s valuable advice.
Also available as an ebook and audiobook.