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Reflections on ‘Visibility, the Art of Being Noticed’ by Phil Factor


If you have not read the Master of Phrenetic Phoughts’ article, please do so here. I enjoyed very much the illustration of Brunel employed in the beginning, a family favourite for the list of top Britons. Phil gives us an interesting anecdote of person who was not so discreet about crashing a company car while trying to shrewdly schmooze his way up the corporate ladder.



I’d like to explain more eloquently why I am starting with this post in the most abrupt (can you tell my Mother is from Yorkshire) way, but cannot right now, so jumping right in…


The best policy to recover from a terrible set of circumstances, whether your own fault or not (as has been said by many), is to be completely honest and use tact when responding to difficult questions.  When someone is averse to handling tough questions, and commences by blaming others within the first few strokes, subsequently their integrity is questionable. It is up to those who have visibility, often whether they like it or not (if you are DBA, there is no choice) - or from a different part of the country, holding a different accent, being tall and blonde (physical traits unavoidable) – to act as examples because their actions are easily replicated.  As certified database professionals early on in their career, and even experienced Most Valuable Professionals at a later stage, one should treat their coworkers with respect.


In front of your team, or for those of you who work with in today’s theoretically ‘flat’ environments (or Matrix organisations Vs Departmental), this is especially important.  Owning up to your mistakes is paramount, and when you notice something that you have done wrong before anyone else sees it, your chances of obtaining the strength of the circle of trust are greatest when you admit the fault in front of everyone and indicate the best way to avoid a reoccurrence of the gaffe.  Conversely, if you make a mistake and then an in-house competitor runs with it to blatantly defame you (whether or not with vexatious intent – subconsciously often), then one can distinguish right away who is not a team player.  That is unless the work environment has developed into something so rotten it has become the norm because of complacent human resource departments, or in the worst case scenario, a perpetrator rewarded with promotion.  Even if the latter case is so, what goes around comes around, and everytime I have witnessed irresponsible behavior the person responsible for it lasts between one to three months after formal complaints are made.


When there is a situation when someone repetitively makes serious mistakes that drag the rest of the team down, cost serious resources, et al., then a written trail should to be created to provide just cause for discharge – and not a series of repetitive verbal assaults, which, in turn, indicate a distinct lack or professionalism – unless your goal is to have yelling matches commonplace!? However, a one-off heated discussion is unavoidable at times and should be treated as such.


Where I disagree with Phil is the mysterious aspect of visibility. I do not see how it is mysterious – as long as you are always able to turn a usually negative situation into positive one and that it is projected throughout your relevant networks and writing, whilst maintaining a straight-forward attitude, even if it is idealistic, then it is not so mysterious.J



Posted by Jason Brimhall on 3 February 2010

Nice post.  I think you raise a few important pieces of information.

1.  Occasional verbal assaults happen - but should be limited.

2.  Paper trails are necessary for that person that drags the team down.

3. Tact and honesty buy a lot of respect.

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