I Just Don’t Know How to Get Promoted

This is the fifth and last post  in a series  where I show you the ins and outs of getting promoted. Missed the first four– you can learn Where Do I Start to Get PromotedWhat Can I Do to Get PromotedI Haven’t Been Promoted Yet Because…, and Someone is Sabotaging My Promotion.

Why? Because my new course, GET PROMOTED is open and I want you to see how much juicy information will be packed into this four-week adventure. I hope you’ll join us!

You can see all of the course details here:

I Just Don’t Know How

Maybe you’ve been burned. Or everything that you have tried in the past, just hasn’t worked. It’s time to come clean, you probably just don’t know how to get promoted.

And that’s ok – it’s your starting point.

But getting promoted doesn’t just happen. That’s important to keep repeating. The advice you’re getting from your parents – be dedicated, show your commitment, then they will recognize you, isn’t a plan of action.

I’m not going to lie, getting on the promotion track isn’t going to be easy. It’s not going to be “business as usual” at work. In fact, you’re going to have to step up your game. Likely at the expense of something else.

If you are still sure that your reasons behind wanting to Get Promoted are pure and true, then let’s start when how to do it.

1. Narrow in on a visible project

Your boss and your boss’s boss, have a pet project or two. Something that is top of mind, continued over year-over-year, or is talked about constantly. Pinpoint what that project is – and go after it.

My client Carrie for example, noticed that there was a huge issue with the company-wide management of performance reviews and processes. She’s in HR, so this fell squarely on her department. Ratings weren’t processed efficiently enough, forms were lost, promotions and increases weren’t processed correctly or timely. Yeah, you know where this is going.

So she knew that for the next year, this was going to be a highly visible project – and she targeted it. Someone else had been working on the project, obviously didn’t over-deliver and she saw an opening. She went after the project full force – bringing solutions to the table, becoming a part of the conversation, fixing quickly and efficiently some of the problems that were happening previously.

Her name and performance process became intrinsically tied. When the management group decided to hand out/assign projects, Carrie’s name was at the top of the list.

Find the same type of project for your department – think big, pain point, and an area that has room to grow better.

2. Commit your time and efforts to the process

If you aren’t already in or wanting to be, in fifth gear at work, then now is not the time to try and tackle a promotion. I know getting promoted is awesome in theory, but this is the point where the rubber meets the road.

You have to be willing to upshift into action – and full-on work mode. You will be working longer hours, not because it gets you noticed, but because you will have an even fuller plate. You will be seeing your family less, not because you want to, but because you are going to have to get sh*t done.

In the workplace, it sometimes seems that employees who are single without responsibilities (ahem, kids and a spouse, etc.), move up the ladder faster. There is a reason for that – they don’t have to make difficult decisions between tucking their kiddos in and delivering a top-notch project. That’s not saying all people who are single or vice versa, are/can’t be on this path – it’s just a reality check that you will, at some point, need to make some difficult choices.

I’m not trying to scare you here, but fair warning – you will have to take on “more” to get to the next level.

3. Start the conversation

As mentioned before, a promotion doesn’t just show up. You have to actively go after it.

Notice that I placed the conversation action item third. You should have the conversation after you have started working on a highly visible project and have committed the time/resources needed for your promotion journey.

Approaching a promotion conversation isn’t easy for most people, but to lessen the fear around it, it should after some of the pieces are in place. And it’s a conversation that will have to take place more than once.

Here is a sample script to use during a 1:1 meeting with your boss:

“I’d like to be sure to check-in and see how everything is going – performance and expectations wise. Particularly with {enter project name}. I know that it is on everyone’s radar, and I want to be sure to get it right and highlight all of the efficiencies we’ve put into place.”

{let them talk about the progress/performance}

“Sounds good – I know that there will continue to be a lot of eyes on the project, so I’m excited to be able to deliver. I’d this project to be a billboard of sorts, for my caliber of work to help me be seen as ready now, for the next level. I know that success on this project also reflects well on you and the rest of the team. Do you think you can help me work towards showcasing my readiness throughout {enter project timeline}?”

{let them talk}

“Great – I will create a plan so that we can track the skills I’ll need to learn and deliver, for the next level and be sure to continue the conversation.”

Obviously it’s difficult to do this word-for-word during a discussion, but it should be a helpful outline for you to understand what to focus on:

  • Remind them that you are in a highly visible situation/project
  • Let them know you are committed to success
  • You are eager to showcase your skills and over-deliver
  • Your success equals their success
  • Create a plan to start checking off readiness and gaining their buy in