What is the best indication that you are indeed accelerating your career? You get promoted! The focus of my coaching practice is to help my clients accelerate their career growth by establishing and documenting their career goals and then by creating and achieving strategies to get promoted… often. And then in years when my clients don’t get promoted, I help them plan for and receive the biggest raises possible. Sound idealistic, well maybe, but my clients have a long track record of success and you can, too.
If you would like to get started today, here are 5 things that you can and should do today to ensure that you get promoted this year:
1) Ask your boss today to tell you specifically what it will take to get promoted this year.
Sounds overly simplistic, but too many people don’t take this obvious step. Many of my clients find out that their boss does not set the bar for promotion as high as they thought it would be.
Make a point to write down each of the activities that your boss tells you that you must accomplish to get promoted. And then do some soul searching to evaluate whether you have the time, energy, knowledge, skills and abilities to accomplish each of the activities. Follow up quickly with your boss by presenting them with the list of items for them to confirm.
2) Create a specific plan to accomplish all the activities that your boss says you must to get promoted and then actively manage that plan.
If you do not believe that you can accomplish each of the activities, but you are dead set on getting promoted, there are alternatives. You should first seek to address the “gaps” in your knowledge, skills and capabilities by taking classes, attending training, seeking help from your mentors and/or possibly enlisting a personal coach to help you ensure you exceed what you need to accomplish to get promoted.
If possible the plan you create should use a format or methodology that is familiar to both you and your boss. This will make it easy to communicate status, issues and accomplishments on a regular basis with your boss. If you don’t have access to any particular planning format, leave a comment on this post for me to send you the planning template that I have created for my clients.
3) Increase your visibility
Chances are that it will take more than just your boss’s endorsement to get you promoted. Other people will be consulted and their opinions will be vital to the decision whether to promote you or not. For this reason, you should seek to increase your visibility in and around your department, in and around your company and with your customers. Again, simple logic prevails. The more people that are ready to endorse your promotion, the greater your chances of getting promoted.
There are many ways to increase your visibility. In my book, I discuss the concept of “greenspace” opportunities. These are responsibilities or activities that must be completed, but are not yet assigned to anyone specific at your company. Taking responsibility for the most important of these greenspace responsibilities with the highest visibility will definitely support your ability to be promoted.
Another of my favorite ways to increase my visibility is to identify a technology that will be important to the future of my department or company and start developing expertise in that area. This can take as little as a week and should not take more than a month. Once I have a developed a base level of expertise, I then put together formal and informal training for others at my company to participate. Some other ideas are:
- Volunteer to lead your company’s or department’s efforts for a charity effort
- Utilize social media tools to communicate your personal brand. (For more on this, check out Dan Schawbel’s blog, magazine and book Me 2.0)
- Identify what makes you special and be sure to create visibility around your uniqueness (I really like this great post on Keppie Careers on this topic)
4) Volunteer to take on “the dirty work”
Seek to take responsibility for fixing “the biggest mess” or some other undesirable dirty work under your boss’s perview. If you really want to get promoted then embrace the biggest, hairiest messes; the bigger the better. Be ready to make a personal commitment as you probably won’t be able to sort out the big mess and get your day job done by working nine to five.
Be careful that you do not bite off more than you can chew as failing either to clean up the mess or to complete your daily responsibilities will definitely affect your “promotability.” Be careful not to be too cautious as there are probably others standing right beside you that are waiting for the same opportunity to make their mark. You don’t have to do all the work yourself, you just need to make sure the work gets done. Be sure to harness the power of your entire network as this will demonstrate leadership and further support your promotion.
5) Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail
You will undoubtedly encounter roadblocks …. attack your promotion plan with great enthusiasm and confidence! Be realistic enough to know that you will encounter some, maybe even many, roadblocks that you did not anticipate. If you are able to overcome the roadblocks effectively, your boss will be impressed. If you keep a calm demeanor and if you are a calming influence on others as you overcome roadblocks, your boss will be even more impressed by your leadership. If you demonstrate your innovative capabilities by creating win/win solutions to eliminate the roadblocks, your boss will have no option but to promote you.
Good luck and as always Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail!