Grab Your Next Big Promotion—Because No One Will Just Hand it To You (Pt 2)

Grab Your Next Big PromotionLast month, we outlined your overall strategy for grabbing the big promotion you desire.

In short—to get promoted, you need to convince your organization’s relevant decision makers you’re worth taking a risk on. You reduce their risk by meeting your desired position’s objective and subjective requirements before you ask for the job.

Start this process by meeting your desired position’s objective requirements. These are the table stakes for receiving consideration for your desired position. Meet them, and you show your organization’s relevant decision makers that when they place you into the position you desire, that position’s day-to-day operations will proceed without any major disruptions.

To Get Promoted, First Reduce the Risk of Promoting You

Large organizations love these sorts of seamless transitions. Even small disruptions in your desired position’s operations can send shockwaves into other functions and cause real problems for the organization as a whole. Your organization’s relevant decision makers want to minimize these potential problems. When they see that you can “Do the job before you get the job” they feel secure you won’t create any operational disruptions.

But, unfortunately, not all disruptions come from operational issues.

The Biggest Blow Ups Come From Poor Professional Relationships

Interpersonal friction is just as likely to create disruptions within your desired position as operational incompetence. If you don’t get along professionally with all the other people your desired position interacts with, then it doesn’t matter how well you can handle the nuts-and-bolts of the role’s responsibilities. There will be problems, they will be your fault, and they will blow back on the people who took the risk of promoting you in the first place.

Before these relevant decision makers feel confident giving you the promotion you desire, they need to feel—in their guts—that you can smoothly navigate the web of relationships your position sits within.

Navigating Professional Relationships isn’t About Being Liked

Now, don’t worry if you aren’t “Mr. Charisma”. You aren’t doomed to remain in your current position if you aren’t likeable in the traditional sense of the word. You don’t need to “get along” with your colleagues in a social way. No one was ever denied a promotion because they weren’t invited to enough happy hours.

When deciding if you can smoothly navigate your desired position’s web of relationships, your organization’s relevant decision makers only care if you can establish, grow and maintain the professional side of these relationships. Your business-oriented interactions are where problems might occur, and where interactions need to be smooth. Your function won’t suffer through a big work-impacting blow-up if you aren’t asked to join the team’s basketball league, but disruptions will certainly occur if you don’t share the same professional values as the people you work with. You will repeatedly clash over what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and how the function should be run.

To give your relevant decision makers confidence that you can not only do the job, but that you can get it done without ruffling feathers, you need to make it demonstrably clear you have internalized the same professional values as everyone else at the same level as your desired position.

Get Your Values in Line Before Your Reach Out to Decision Makers

Next month we’ll dig into an actionable process you can follow to directly reach out to the relevant decision makers within your organization who make the call on whether or not you get promoted. But for March, focus on making sure you are demonstrating the values that will give these decision makers the gut-level feel that you will fit smoothly into the web of relationships your desired position sits within.

March Action Steps

1. Contact HR and ask them for a list of your organization’s core values (they may also be called core competencies).

—Most large organizations will have these written down, and they will have names like “Leadership”, “Change Management”, or “Delivering Value to Our Customers”.

2. Set up a meeting with your manager to discuss these values and to determine whether or not you already demonstrate them.

Work with your manager to construct answers to the following questions:

2a. “Which of these values are most important to develop and demonstrate for the next position on my career track?

2b. “Where do I currently stand with each of those most important values? Please be brutally honest.

2c. “What concrete activities can I undertake, and what concrete outcomes can I achieve, to better develop and demonstrate these values?

3. Assemble your manager’s answer to question “2c”  into a list of actions, and add them to your list of priorities for March.

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