Visibility = Relevance: Expanded

I hear it all the time in my office: Visibility equals Relevance. I still remember the first time I heard it - sitting in the office chatting about our operations activation schedule and the frequency of opening an operations center at the speed of more than 12 times each year (one or two per year is the going rate for many local emergency management offices).

 "We do it to remain relevant, because visibility is relevance." And I shook my head in agreement. "Yep, I get it," I said. Visibility is relevance.

Fast forward three years and my view has changed. A lot.

Relevance is vital, it's the life blood of any competitive organization. You've gotta be relevant or there is no success. But this is where my view has changed. Relevance is not just about visibility. It takes far more than that to be truly relevant, especially in the long term.

We all know individuals who are visible - so visible it's like Vegas entered the conference room - but they are hardly relevant. Sure, in the moments are the initial meeting they seem to have everything you need. They are indispensable, but time passes (hours, weeks, months) and it becomes abundantly clear that their relevance is a charade. Because they missed the keystone of the equation...

Action. A.K.A. Getting Shit Done.

Being visible and looking pretty makes you good for one thing - looking pretty. And at some point one outgrows that type of relevance. Being visible and doing something brilliant, or hell, even just moving the needle slightly, is the basis of long-term relevance.

I have a feeling one might say, "Well Alicia, the action is implied." But I'm of firm belief that getting shit done should not be an assumed activity. Especially when relevance is on the line.

So let's try this formula on for size: Visibility + Action = Relevance.