Canvas Strategy – Get Ahead in Your Career


Getting ahead, receiving recognition, being rewarded, climbing the ladder, making more money, gaining prestige. These are all motivators for people in the workforce, especially new people to the workforce. We believe that if we work hard and work fast with outstanding quality we will quickly rise to the top of our field. The reality is that it often takes longer than we expected. Often our hard work is not recognized or is under appreciated. This is true in the consulting world too. Often as technical writing and instructional design consultants we have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition.

Is the business world the problem or is it us?

I recently listened to a podcast that discusses the “canvas strategy.” It is a strategy used by top performers such as Benjamin Franklin and Bill Belichick. It makes you rethink the “me strategy” that most of us use in our jobs.

If you don’t have time to listen to the podcast you can read a brief explanation of the canvas strategy on Ryan Holiday’s website.

It is more than simply making others look good. The idea is to “find and make canvases for other people to paint on.” Help others to discover opportunities and eliminate distractions that hinder their focus. “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas dictates the painting.”

I work for a technical documentation and instructional design consulting company. We believe in helping our clients not only achieve their overall business goal but also to help the client project manager or project sponsor personally look good to his/her boss. I am excited to explore ways to expand this practice and give our clients a canvas on which to paint.