Blow your own trumpet…for others!

As I walked out of the movie hall after watching ‘M.S Dhoni: The untold story’, the one thing that stayed with me was the role that Dhoni’s friends and acquaintances played in shaping his career. Blowing his trumpet with sponsors and selectors (albeit at the local level), they were instrumental in letting people know what Dhoni was capable of. Of course Dhoni had the talent and worked hard to build his skill, but there is no discounting the role that the others played.

However, not all of us are as lucky!

Many moonlights ago, during my summer internship, I was working closely with the head of HR of an organization on a project. During one of my meetings with her, I updated her on the tasks I had completed, but skipped some information that I thought may be considered as boasting (like how the leads responded to the presentation I had made the week before the meeting).

When she directly questioned me about how the presentation went, I responded modestly. It was then that I got my first lesson in blowing your own trumpet.  “Every once in a while it’s okay to boast about yourself,” she said. “You will feel good, and others will know what you have accomplished.”

While not so much then, over the years I have come to agree with what she had advised. I have come to believe that blowing your own trumpet is important for three reasons:

So they know: It is imperative to let others (read key stakeholders) know about your achievements. Your success in the team/organization depends on it. If you don’t care enough to share, there is a good chance nobody else will.

So they see value: A key difference is how you choose to say it; what you are focusing on. I sometimes catch myself talking about the tasks, where I should be communicating the value and the (business) impact.

So they can too: Imagine if Thomas Edison had not told others that he can invented the electric bulb, or worse still shared that he did it, but not how. Some of what you share could be best practices others can replicate, to solve the problems that they are facing.

The one thing that we should always be conscious of is that the sound of our trumpet is not for us! Pause a moment, feel good about ‘the sound’, even celebrate it, but anything more and you are treading on the slippery slopes of vanity.

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