There are three things you need to know when it comes to getting promoted.
The first is how to avoid the traps and common promotion mistakes. There are always going to be circumstances beyond your control, but there are many you can control. And one of them is to steer clear of making easily avoidable mistakes.
The second is to understand what it means to be seen as promotion-ready. To be seen as someone who is worthy and ready to step up to a bigger role is KEY.
Having earned 10 promotions in my career, from entry level to COO for Europe, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get promoted. And what I’ve learned is this: getting promoted is not a straightforward, standardized, “paint by numbers” process.
So, the third is knowing how to get from where you are now to the promotion you want. And for that, you need a promotion plan. Think of it as your roadmap for navigating the twists and turns on the path to promotion.
You can’t just “wing it” and leave your promotion to chance. You must have a plan for your promotion so you can approach the opportunity with confidence and clarity.
The 5 elements of your promotion plan
The model I’ve used for my own promotion plans and also with my coaching clients is the 5 Ps of Promotion™. The Ps stand for Process, Product, Platform, People, and Positioning.
The beauty of this model is that each element is simple and actionable. And taken together, they build on each other to help you form your own plan for success.
So, let’s go over each one.
Understand the Promotion PROCESS
Your promotion prospects will be “hit or miss” unless you’re clear on the timeline for promotion and the milestones you need to reach. You don’t want to be flying blind.
And a significant part of understanding the process is getting clear on the criteria – especially the informal ones that people don’t tell you about but turn out to be super important.
For example, when I was a manager, I needed to know my team members could command a room full of our competitors and make us look good with a client. If they didn’t pass that “litmus test”, I wouldn’t feel comfortable backing them for promotion. But that wasn’t written down anywhere!
When you’re savvy about the process, you’ll be able to identify the informal criteria that can hold you back if you’re not aware. You’ll learn the language and currency that matters most in helping you get promoted. And you’ll know how to figure out whether you’re in a “seat” you can get promoted from.
Understand who you are as a PRODUCT
When it comes to promotion, you are the product with your own distinct package of attributes that you bring to the table.
Someone – probably your boss or your boss’ boss – will be pulling together that package and presenting your case for promotion to the decision-makers. Since you won’t be in the room when the decision is made, it’s best to have a clue as to how others see your case and what you think that case should be.
Armed with that knowledge, you can see where you may have gaps, highlight your assets, work on your liabilities, and help make a better case for your promotion.
After all, you’re the one who’s been there for everything you’ve accomplished and experienced. So, it’s up to you to make sure others see the full picture.
When you have clarity early on about the assets you bring as a promotion candidate as well as potential drawbacks, you’ll be able to address any gaps, build on your strengths, and help your boss present your case with impact.
Understand your PLATFORM (the one you have now and the one you want to get)
Your platform is your role or job. Think of it as a stage on which you perform. One that provides you with opportunities to learn, grow and show what you’re capable of.
Even when you’re getting a promotion in title within the same team or function, you’re still going to be performing on a different platform – a more senior platform.
When you understand your platforms, you’ll be able to leverage the one you’re on to get the one you want next, and hit the ground running when you do get promoted. And that puts you in a better position going forward.
Have you fully exploited the opportunities from your current platform to develop and show your stuff? Are you clear on what’s expected in the role you’re targeting for promotion?
Get the right PEOPLE to know about you
One of the reasons promotions can seem so mysterious is that these are decisions made by people, not some mathematical equation in an Excel spreadsheet.
In other words, people promote people. So, the more you are known to the decision-makers and influencers, the better off you will be.
The trouble is, you’re busy with your job and doing the “People piece” well sounds like it takes time. And if self-promotion isn’t your thing, most of that time will be spent outside of your comfort zone, too. Besides, your great work will speak for itself. Right?
I understand if that’s what you’re thinking. That’s exactly what I used to think, too.
But, boy, was that a mistake!
This was a big contributing factor in one of the promotions I didn’t get the first time around. I was too busy keeping my head down and doing my work. And when it came time for promotion, I didn’t have the support of some key people. It’s not that they thought I was bad, they didn’t even know who I was!
So, it’s worth identifying the stakeholders who matter and managing them well.
Having the right people on board can give your promotion prospects a serious boost. Best of all, it builds your confidence and that means you’re more likely to perform at your best.
What are you doing to develop relationships with key decision-makers, build your credibility, and raise your profile in an authentic way?
Present the right POSITIONING
Positioning yourself means being able to make a compelling case for your promotion. This means knowing your audience as well as yourself so you can present your case in the most effective way.
This is where you get to pull together all the elements and start delivering on your plan – what you want to convey about you as a Product, which People to convey this to, how to frame the case according to the criteria that matter in the Process, the gaps you’re working to close between your current and target Platforms.
Some people find it difficult to know what to include in putting together their case. Others find that the harder part is going out and having the conversations to convey their case and get key people on board.
Both parts are important.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to promotion, you substantially improve your chances when you know how to position yourself in the best possible way. And you owe it to yourself to put your best foot forward.
Do you know how to make a compelling case for your promotion? How confident do you feel about having the conversations to convey your case?
Plan your way to success
Navigating your path to promotion is too important to leave to chance. After all, it’s your future. You don’t want to regret the steps you could have taken but thought you were too busy to take.
Use the 5 Ps of Promotion™ to put together a solid promotion plan. Once you have your core plan, you can adapt and improvise as things progress. There’s a big difference between having a plan and improvising when you need to, versus leaving things to chance.
And with your promotion plan in hand, you can take action with confidence because you know exactly what to do. Best of all, it substantially increases your chances of winning the promotion you deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get promoted, then stay tuned because I’ll be offering the opportunity to join a Masterclass to help you win your next promotion. You’ll come away knowing exactly what your next steps are and with a clear plan to position yourself for promotion in the best possible way.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.
Which of the 5 Ps of Promotion™ would make the biggest difference for you if you worked on it right now?
And for extra points:
What would it mean to you to win your next promotion?
Leave a comment and let me know.