Monday, July 20, 2009

Ten ways to get promoted.

The following suggestions are in no particular order and work best when combined:

1. Work very hard.
Always think two jobs ahead. If the second job will get you what you want, take the first job. Then do the work you were hired to do. Do it without being asked a second time and work harder than anyone else. Don't tell people how hard you work. Show them how much you get done. Under-promise and over-deliver. As the film maker Arthur Freed advises, “Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough.”

2. Understand what’s expected of you.
If you don’t know, ask. It’s not weak to ask for help. Studies show people with strong support networks not only move higher in their companies, but live longer and are healthier than their self-sufficient counterparts.

3. Build an internal support network.
If no one knows how great you are, you’re unlikely get ahead. The more people who know who you are, your strengths and abilities, your value to the company and your ambitions, the more likely your name will surface when opportunities come up. Find a mentor - an older, more experienced person a level or two higher in the company, someone you can talk to freely about career and workplace issues. Look for someone with similar values that you can have a good rapport with. Use your mentor to assess your strengths and weaknesses, develop a long-range career plan, and to get the skills you need for success. Your mentor can also give you insight into the company’s culture and warn you about the hot buttons of the key political players.

4. Be unfailingly positive.
Look for ways to get things done rather than complaining they can’t be done. Don't whine or blame others if things don't go your way. Don’t bad mouth other people. Learn how to be right without making others wrong. And don’t spread company gossip. Remember Dale Carnegie’s advice; “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

5. Volunteer for extra duties.
Ask for more responsibility. Seek out those tasks that have a significant impact on the company’s success. Asking for more work shows your interest and desire to help your department and company prosper. If you see an area that’s been neglected and you have key talents in that area, submit a proposal for a new position. That way, even if your proposal is turned down, you’ll get noticed in a good way.

6. Make your boss’s job easier.
Consistency of action and depth of talent are two key elements of a promoteable employee. Be a reliable go-to person for your boss. If you bring problems, offer solutions as well. And never let your boss be blindsided by bad news. If you think you’re going to miss a commitment, let it be known as soon as you find out. When communicating with higher-ups, be concise and get to the point quickly. Follow the army maxim - BLUF - “bottom line up front.”

7. Take every opportunity you can to keep learning.
Expand your knowledge and skill sets in areas that are critical to the business. If you’re not in a supportive environment in this regard, leave.

8. Be a leader.
Aspire to be a leader at whatever level you operate. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers. They don't lead by pointing and telling people where to go. They lead by taking a risk and going to that place and making a case for it. They also look over their shoulder every now and then to make sure they’re being followed.

9. Build a reputation for being a team player.
Be cooperative. Check out what others think before you act. Keep other people informed about what’s going on, both the good and the bad. Keep your commitments. Be someone that other people know they can count on. Be honest and truthful, and don't betray confidences. Share the credit for success with everyone involved.

10. Be open to correction.
The first rule of getting ahead is that everything is your fault. It’s through our mistakes that we learn. As Confucius said, "A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it is committing another mistake."

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