The P.I.E. Model

Ed Burghard

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.

 

One of the better personal branding models I have been exposed to is the P.I.E. Model (Performance, Image, Exposure).

The model helps you better understand the unwritten rules of success in a corporate environment. It can also be extrapolated to help you understand how to self-brand in a less structured working situation.

The basic concept is that by focusing on balancing the relationship between these three key dimensions you can positively impact your career. If you get the balance right, then you are well positioned for success.

Caution

I believe truth has limits, and all models are simply aids to help you understand complex situations. Models attempt to describe the underlying truths in a given situation, but their ability to simulate or explain every facet is limited. As a consequence, you should interpret any model with the clear recognition that there are always exceptions. The value will be in seeking to enhance your understanding of the fundamentals and simply accepting the limits of the model. In other words, don’t focus on what is wrong with a model, try to understand what is right about it and recognize when the model breaks down in the real world.

Performance

High performance is a “ticket to entry” in most job situations. It is the expectation a company has of its employees. Without consistently high personal performance, the “I” and the “E” don’t come into play. Typically, performance is judged based on 1) your personal contributions to the company goals, 2) Management’s perception of whether you are fully utilizing your skills and abilities, and 3) Management’s perception of your opportunity for continued development. You need to strive for consistently over delivering against your Manger’s performance expectations, and to do so you need to understand where your Manager has set the bar.

Image

This is about your reputation, including how others in and outside your Organization perceive you.  Your image impacts the first impression people have when they meet you and how they interact with you on an on-going basis. Remember the phrase “your reputation precedes you”? People often form an opinion of you before ever meeting you. There are a lot of things that contribute to your image. Some include – a) the results you’ve historically delivered, b) he credibility you’ve established within the company (are you ethical, fair, trustworthy?), c) your work style (are you collaborative or confrontational, personally engaging?), and d) your operational savviness. Often people sabotage their image by their behaviors. For example, all work and no play, being a perfectionist, constantly minimizing the value of your work, being too modest, refusing high profile assignments, ignoring quid pro quo, skipping or being late for meetings. Your behaviors definitely help shape you image, and you should be cognizant of whether you are shooting yourself in the foot or not.

Exposure

This is about being a real member if the team, having access to Management, getting proper visibility for yourself and your work, having positive sponsorship and trustworthy mentors, and earning people’s confidence in you. Exposure acts as the catalyst for both Image and Performance. Gaining advocacy is critical in your career. That means getting visibility with Executive leadership, networking effectively, and creating one-on-one relationships of mutual respect with mentors that are committed to helping you succeed.

Discussion

Typically, you need P.I.E. in your career to be successful. The truth is that if you don’t proactively shape your personal brand, others will shape it for you and you might not like or agree with the perception that gets created. The “P” is mandatory for the long-term. Without it, the rest doesn’t matter. The “I” and “E” tend to be critical tie-breakers when you are competing with others for a plum assignment or a promotion.

Having said that, we all know people who have been promoted beyond their real contributions or abilities simply because they were masters at the “I” and the “E”. In fact, the well-known “Peter Principle”  is intended to describe those very people. It is definitely possible, and highlights one of the limits of the P.I.E. model to explain personal branding. But, I’d argue that the most reliable way to create a strong and sustainable personal brand is to focus on the entire P.I.E..

Other Reading You Might Be Interested In:

Annual Personal Brand Audit

Who Are You Really?

Self-Branding Resources

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

What You Need To Know About The American Dream

Media Coverage

Fox Business 

Wall Street Journal

FoxNews

Regional Business Talk Interview – Dr. Greg Smith

Regional Business Talk Interview 2012 – Ed Burghard

Regional Business Talk Interview 2014 – Ed Burghard

Business Xpansion Magazine

American Dream Case Study Series

Cincinnati versus Ohio and Nation

Indiana versus Michigan

Florida versus North Carolina

New York versus New Jersey

California versus Texas

Pennsylvania versus New York

North Carolina versus Texas

Ohio versus Michigan

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11 Comments so far

  1. Paul Krause

    January 2, 2012

    Keep it Simple as P.I.E it is that easy

  2. Ludo Segers

    January 3, 2012

    I do agreed. Recently, I was in a meeting with a ‘name dropper’ …
    It became clear around the table that his ‘E’ abilities impressed the people. I like your interesting acronym too!

  3. Encoradrino

    January 31, 2012

    Don?t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.

  4. […]   […]

  5. […] “The Burghard Group | Strengthening Brand America: http://t.co/I77IXRicat”;  […]

  6. PaulG

    October 12, 2014

    Thanks for posting another one of your little gems Ed. A worthy and easy to follow mini guide. Particularly helpful to those hard working, results delivering, modest people who think they can progress on high performance alone. Paul.

  7. Edward

    October 12, 2014

    Paul – Thank you for the comment of support. Getting positive feedback is very encouraging for me.

  8. Dennis Hooper

    November 13, 2014

    Do you know the source of your P-I-E model? Is it original with you?

    Dennis Hooper

  9. Edward

    November 13, 2014

    Dennis – I was exposed to the P.I.E. model in a training program relatively early in my career. I do not know the original source. If you Google the model, you will find a number of references. It is not a model I designed (although it would have certainly been cool to be the author). Hopefully you find the P.I.E. model helpful as you think about your own career development.

  10. […] among readers of my blog.  If you opt to read only one from the list, make it the post about the P.I.E Model.  It may just change how you think about career advancement, and influence the new year’s […]

  11. […] your manager likely bears some of the responsibility).  One of my most popular posts entitled the P.I.E. Model claims a high level of performance is simply the ticket to entry for promotion consideration. […]

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