The PVI Model

Standing Out From the Crowd

The PVI Model - Standing Out From the Crowd

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Get noticed for the right reasons.

Imagine that both you and your colleague have similar roles. You both work equally hard, and you're both experts in your field. Your colleague consistently gets recognized for her achievements, with raises, praise, and interesting projects.

You, meanwhile, don't get any recognition at all, even though your work is just as good as hers. As a result, you're frustrated, and you're starting to doubt your abilities.

It's dispiriting when one person gets recognition for hard work, while other colleagues, who perform to the same standard, go unnoticed. If it's happened to you, then you'll know just how frustrating this can be!

However, by addressing three essential areas, you can dramatically increase your chances of receiving a fair share of the limelight – and of the rewards that go along with this. You'll gain respect, get noticed, and be in demand.

The PVI Model helps you address these three areas, so that you can stand out in your organization. We'll look at the model in this article.

Understanding the Model

The PVI Model was created by Joel Garfinkle, an author, public speaker, and executive coach who's been recognized as one of the Top 50 coaches in the United States. The model is based on Garfinkle's 20 years' experience coaching some of the world's most influential executives, and he published it in his 2011 book, "Getting Ahead."

According to Garfinkle, being excellent at what you do doesn't guarantee success. You also need to address three key things:

  • Perception: This is how others see you. When others see you in a positive light, it's so much easier to get what you want!
  • Visibility: When you're visible (for the right reasons) to people who matter, they can see the value you provide to the organization, and this brings appropriate recognition.
  • Influence: When you have influence, you have the power to change the minds and direction of others, no matter what your current position is.

From "Getting Ahead." © Joel Garfinkle, 2011. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Applying the PVI Model

The PVI Model suggests strategies that you can use in each of these three key areas. You don't have to work through each area in order; rather, start working on your weakest area first.

Let's look at each of these in detail.


How you think you're seen, how you're really seen by others, and how you want to be seen – these are often three different things. It's clearly important to bring these into alignment.

Perception is affected by your image, your attitude, the opinions you express, and the behaviors you exhibit. The good news is that you can change all of these things to improve how others see you.

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Start by assessing how you're currently seen by others in these areas. Ask for specific feedback from your colleagues, boss, and clients; and speak with friends and family. Find out why they perceive you the way that they do. (Ask people to be honest in these conversations – there's no point in being told just what you want to hear!)

Next, make a list of how you want others to perceive you in each of these areas. Do you want to be known for ironclad integrity? For an ability to stay cool under pressure? As the person who offers good ideas during meetings? Pick one trait to work on at a time, and make a goal to spend time strengthening this trait daily by adding appropriate actions to your To-Do List or Action Program.

Make sure that you work in areas where you can stay true to your goals and to your values – don't try to mold yourself to be someone you aren't, just to advance your career. Also, take steps to avoid behaviors that may damage how people perceive you.

Last, spend time with people at work who exhibit the behavior and reputation you want to emulate. These people might be colleagues who are known for their honesty and integrity, or may be those who manage with kindness. Remember, "you are the company you keep," so make sure that this company is good!


When you're doing these self-assessments, you may also want to examine your online reputation. Make sure that the way that you're perceived on blogs, forum posts, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on, aligns with how you want to be perceived offline.


It's important to be visible at work. People who are responsible for promotions and bonuses must be able to see the value that you provide to the organization. They can't reward something that they know nothing about!

The most important element that you need to get noticed is self-confidence. If you don't have self-confidence, then you won't feel comfortable promoting your efforts and your good work.

Next, make sure that your boss, colleagues, clients, and other key stakeholders know about your accomplishments along the way, not just at your next performance review. If you have a success, email your boss about what happened, or mention it at your team meeting. See our article on getting the recognition you deserve for more on this.

You can also seek out challenging projects, volunteer on key committees, cross-train to gain new skills, or offer to do presentations about your projects to board or company meetings.

Although "tooting your own horn" can feel awkward, letting others know what you're doing is an essential part of being visible. Make sure that you balance talking about your own work with praise for others' accomplishments as well. You can lift everyone up by helping others get noticed along with yourself – this will also help you build and maintain great relationships with your colleagues.


Garfinkle suggests that taking risks is essential to being visible. This may not be appropriate in all situations, so use your best judgment here – after all, it's all too easy to be visible (for the wrong reasons) if you take the wrong risks!


The last element in the PVI Model is Influence. You have influence when you have the power and charisma to change a situation or to change people's minds. This doesn't mean relying on your authority or title; you can influence others even if you have neither of these things.

The ability to influence others relies on likability, expert power, and the skills to persuade others.

First, look at professionals you respect who influence others without relying on their authority or title. How do they do it? What behaviors do they exhibit? What do you need to do to emulate them? Could you ask them to mentor you in these skills?

Then, work on building your expert power. When others see you as an expert, they're more likely to respect you, trust what you have to say, and go along with the ideas you're proposing. Build expertise by spending time every day gaining new knowledge about your chosen field or niche. Put this knowledge to use whenever you can.

You can also boost your likability by developing great relationships, and by building trust and rapport with people.

Last, make sure that you know how to use tools such as the Influence Model, Minority Influence Strategy, and Cialdini's Six Principles of Influence to influence and persuade others in a variety of situations.

You might also want to listen to our Expert Interview on Persuasion IQ, with Kurt Mortensen, which has additional tips for persuading others, honestly and ethically.

Key Points

Executive coach Joel Garfinkle created the PVI Model and published it in his book, "Getting Ahead." The model looks at three key elements that are necessary for achieving success in your career:

  • Perception.
  • Visibility.
  • Influence.

You can use the PVI Model to get noticed, build a good reputation, and make a difference in your organization. In turn, this can help you enjoy a more successful career.