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How to get promoted

How To Get Promoted

how-to-get-promotedJust like any other project you want to have a strategic approach to your career.  That includes managing the messaging to others about who you are, what you’re good at, new ideas that you bring to the table to solve problems.  What follows is a culmination of twenty five years of marketing and studying social behavior in organizations for ten years I have a few steps to help you get promoted.   Imagine you are the product and let’s apply the same steps to your contribution that we would to any consumer product.   Buy me and this is what you’ll get.     So here are some steps to take:

  1. Do a crack up job where you are now…
    1. Slackers and whiners don’t get promoted unless you’re in the protected class of untouchables which doesn’t apply to us normal people.
    2. Find problems and solve them
    3. Go the extra mile
    4. Volunteer where others are not volunteering
    5. If it’s a hideous task leverage the offer by saying something like – I want to be seen as a team player and a contributor so I’ll take this on but….share a sacrifice then suggest that you know you’ll be rewarded when possible.
  2. Know where you want to go – when you’re clear they’ll be clear and help you find that path to get there
    1. If you don’t see a path create one
    2. Talk to people who are obviously successful in your organization about how they sought and advanced their career
    3. Talk to people  outside your organization to see what paths they see
    4. Talk to the old duffs who might not really be so engaged but ask them what they wished they would have done to get promoted but didn’t do.
  3. Know why you want that position
    1. Understand your motivation beyond money so you can add to the team, grow the product solve human beings dilemmas by creating new product or systems to solve for duplicity or what feeds you to bring more of you to the table
    2. If money is your only motivator that’s a problem for employees.   Rethink your job – you may need to be in a pay for performance role or a different company/industry – remember the less desirable the industry the more they pay.
    3. If you’re behind the 8 ball financially (spend more than you make) then think about cutting expenses so the desperation is less palpable and you can focus on your strengths and your inner motivation which will ultimately make you more attractive as an employee
  4. What do they do that you don’t?
    1. Do a hard gap analysis with your own skills.  Seriously, this isn’t so easy by yourself but you know if managing a P&L line item or managing people who aren’t pulling their weight is a problem then figure it out and get help to know how to do it.
    2. Get the education you need that’s expected for where you want to go.  Start this very minute since you know it’s going to be hard to go back to school and it’s not going to get any easier but you need it.   Six months from now you’ll be six months closer to finishing.
    3. Get a coach to help you see the parts that might not be so obvious.
  5. Find a problem and create a solution or a plan for a solution
    1. Leaders need to solve problems – duh
    2. Solve problems – be the leader you want to be and the organization needs.
    3. Identify problems and solve them – it bears repeating because it’s important.
    4. Even challenges with impact across normal siloed boundaries or usually non-considered paths need solutions… leaders who can think beyond their own “turf” are valuable to the organization
  6. Be nice to your coworkers
    1. I am pretty sure you get this.  If you don’t then hopefully you’re in a ruthless organization where people look mean and super unhappy.
    2. Kindness and inclusion are problems that most organization now hire specialists to bring programs to increase those two factors and by the way the ROI on this is ridiculous with such things as meeting deadlines, less product failures, customer satisfaction scores and on and on…
  7. Be nice to your leader
    1. See above as the leader is a human being and probably carrying more stress than you’ll know
    2. What else needs to be said unless you’re a fool and if that’s true then carry on fool but you probably won’t need to read the rest of this
  8. Track concerted efforts, results along with foibles and key learnings
    1. Be able to track you’re self-improvement efforts and results (also known as professional development)
    2. Be able to talk about the way you’ve done thing differently, took risks, books you’ve read, classes you’ve taken without begging for funding because you believe in your own growth
  9. Be prepared to manage  up
    1. Have the conversation with anyone anywhere to help them know your contribution and I don’t mean in a “look at me, look at me” way or the expense of others moments to shine but humbly, quietly share the good stuff.
    2. Know how to give bad news – the words “conflict adverse” simply can’t be held tightly to like you’re going to somehow be exempt from sharing news that no one wants to hear.  Get trained or get a strategy there are plenty of resources out there but my favorite is Crucial Conversations.
    3. Always have a story to tell when given an opportunity – a long time ago when I was in sales I would shutter when my sales manager called me until I figured out I only needed three updates on clients before he would lose interest – 3 is one of my favorite numbers and I don’t think anyone should go on and on but have 3 in your hip pocket and then read the audience
    4. When riding in the elevator with the president, key shareholder, or see them in the grocery store have a story on hand that starts like…  you might not have heard but the results from …. And those efforts have shown remarkable promise in…. and we are so excited about the next phase for this ….   Or some version of exciting news from your vantage point
    5. Know the metrics by which you, your team, your business unit is being measured.  Be able to speak to them, think of things (actions or inaction) that affect those numbers.  Speak up on your ideas to improve those numbers.
  10. Be clear on your strengths
    1. What you offer is as important as what the company can offer you but you have to know what you inherently are good at doing and love doing remember it could be managing excessive data, or creating relationships with those hard to win clients or it could be wrangling the children for the photo shoot but know what you’re good at naturally.
    2. Find out what the people around you think of you… there is a four square matrix that show the blind side…. Minimize the area that others see in you but you don’t see in yourself.   This is usually done through a 360 degree feedback tool
    3. Know how your behavioral preferences impact your success.  Use tools like MBTI or DISC
  11. leverage your strengths for the greater good
    1. Use those strengths every day, period, if you don’t know if you did used them then add a small reflective time at the end of the day to think back if you did or didn’t use them this is an exercise in awareness which grows with the reflection exercise
    2. Find work where you can use your strengths to contribute more or find areas in life where you can use those like volunteer for organizations that need those skills.

So the big question is “if you do all this and what if nothing happens?”   That’s impossible.   If you do all this something will happen.  You’ll be inexplicably changed for the better.  Your professional contribution will be noticed even if you don’t consistently toot your own horn.   Especially if you’re getting more involved in the success of the organization you’ll get noticed because you’re noticing what’s important and acting as if that matters to you.  They’ll notice.

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