Harris

MIAMI - You can train people in your organization to think about you in the way you want, if you define yourself in three adjectives and consistently back it up, said Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley Investment Management at the 2013 NICSA Annual Conference and Expo.

Every professional and every executive needs to “pick three adjectives that are consistent with who you are and are valued in the organization’’ so that those descriptors stick in the minds of all key people in your company, when you are not around, the managing director in the Strategic Client Group at Morgan Stanley Investment Management said in the first day’s keynote speech.

That’s because “all major decisions about your career will be made when you are not in the room,’' said Harris, who provides investment advice to corporations, public pension plans, foundations and endowments.

Those decisions include when to promote you, how to compensate you and what assignments to give you, she said.

Once you pick the adjectives that describe you, you have to behave that way consistently. Even if you’re already in the organization, “it will take you a couple of quarters to change the organization's perception of you," she said.

Those adjectives must also be key to the role that you are trying to fill. For instance, in a financial services role, two of the three adjectives will always need to be “analytical” and “quantitative.” In a marketing role, “creative” and “out of box thinker.” In sales, “commercially-minded” and “relationship-oriented.

“You need to understand what the buyer is buying,’’ she said.

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