“There is just no politics in this place and everyone just gets along. Its such a happy place to work!”
Daydream, delusional ?
Wouldn’t that be nice – no politics and everyone just super happy – peachy keen!
I’m not sure if a politics free workplace is possible but I think a low political zone is possible when a workplace has :
- a high level of diversity
- open and supportive culture
- a culture of setting people up for success
- confident leaders
- a low amount of org change, job losses
- high profit
- incentives rewarded based on company performance
- a single pay rate for each job role
- managers are supported when managing out poor performers
- lots of training in positive culture and behaviours
- a simple set of values that are realistic for that industry
- low amount of overtime performed
- community focus
- well run teams are rewarded and a heroes are not
- a fun and consistent induction for new starters and a welcoming culture overall
- a focus on healthy living and balance (i.e.: healthy snacks are provided at training and morning tea’s, lunches are held where good quality food is provided)
- there is not a big drinking culture in place
- attrition is below 7%
- people are treated as human beings
- a low level of open plan working
- new ideas are welcomed and encouraged
Now I’d love to hear from you, what is your equality fantasy ?
- start a new role
- take on a new project
- start working for a new boss
- ask for promotion
- ask for $$$ – a pay rise, quote a salary to a recruiter
- try following a recipe from a real recipe book
Why is it so HARD to have this vibe when doing new things and asking for new things (or cooking) ?
When do you become super confident or does this just never happen?
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What are your tips for having a ‘got this’ attitude?
Asking for a promotion can be super scary.
Because you will be making it very clear and very public that you are ambitious, have career goals and are prepared to go for them.
This can feel and be very exposing.
This is your opportunity to showcase your skills and lay the foundation for career progression at your current employer.
Got for it!
And, to help you go for it, here is my tried and very personally tested advice for getting that promotion time and time again!
Be Clear On Your Ask
- Know which roles you are interested in
- Know how much money you want in the form of salary and incentives
- Know your why – why are you the right person to be promoted, what are your skills and what do you have to offer (have your sales pitch ready)
- Know what you want to achieve in the new role for your company, business area and yourself
- Know how you would achieve these things
- Also, have a list of any working arrangements that you need considered and accomodated in the new role (i.e.: work from home, start times, limits on travel, if any etc)
Know Who To Ask
Know When to Ask
Ask for promotion when :
- You have already talked through your business case with your immediate boss and any key decision makers
- Achieved any action items that were asked for as part of your business case discussion
- Have held a discussion on the value you can bring to the new role
- You have spoken and gained advice from at least 30% of the leadership team you want to belong to, and
- Made your work visible to that leadership team
Other great times to ask are :
- when you’ve delivered a big win for your company
- when a new job becomes available due to a re-org
- when someone departs a role unexpectedly
What will you do if you get a YES?
Have a celebration plan in place and, have a business plan in place that you can pick up and run with in your new role.
Always make sure to celebrate a promotion (even it feels like something that should have happened ages ago) and appreciate yourself for the increase wealth, autonomy and freedom a new role will bring you both professionally and personally.
What will you do if you get a NO?
Have a ‘No’ plan in place and a timeframe for getting to YES already determined.
Don’t stay too long in a role going no where.
Only you can determine how long is ‘too long’.
By having a plan in place BEFORE your discussion you won’t get sidetracked by the knock to confidence that a NO can have.
This plan will increase your chances of keeping your career on track and seeing knock backs as bumps a long the road not road blocks
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What is the best tip you’ve ever received for getting ahead and getting that promotion ?
The one thing I’ve found that’s helped me feel happier and (mentally) healthier in the workplace, is sticking to my own style and not adopting others’ styles as my own.
Sometimes this is hard but I’ve realised that by sticking to my own style I’m a lot less drained, tired and grumpy.
I have a quiet voice and mostly a very feminine style. I like to be reserved when getting to know people and hear out other people’s ideas before speaking my own.
Sometimes I can be aggressive when I ‘know I’m right’ and other times I can be soft and quiet.
I just go with my own flow on things.
I don’t speak over people, I like to take my time to consider all sides of a debate and I like to include everyone in a conversation (and I do get aggressive on letting quieter people into conversations and making sure everyone’s voice is heard.)
I can have a masculine side when I think I have solutions and can be very adamant at times (you know, when I’m right).
I’m happy with these contradictions because its easier being myself than trying to be perfectly consistent and even tempered all the time.
Do you agree?
Does it take bravery to be soft, yourself and stay in your truth at work?
He just walked up and asked if I wanted to attend a promotion interview!
Sometimes I like to fantasise about (well many fun things) but often about what the world would be like if we had true and complete equality today.
Can you imagine it ?
I try to and above is the line I’d love to hear from a talented colleague.
Why does this just not happen ?
The one thing that you hear about women (and I would apply this to quieter men as well) is that they have to ‘put their hand up‘. Like we’re in grade 6 and want a turn at using the new MACINTOSH COMPUTER (oops showing my age – we had one MAC for a class of 30! I have odd memories of us all fighting over who got to wheel it out of the ‘computer cupboard’ into the classroom and back).
Putting your hand up is not bad advice.
You do need to ask for promotion, make it known that you want one and visibly work towards it. But this also means that people who are extroverted, brash, over-confident are more likely to get promoted over more conscientious types. (My grade 6 report definitely said ‘Beatrice is a very a conscientious student’ or in other words quiet and introverted.)
I’m a big fan of seeking out talent and pushing people forward.
I don’t think everyone should have to yell and scream to get noticed and there would be a hell of a lot more good women and men in more senior roles if the men (and the rare super woman) in powerful positions took this approach.
Now I’d love to hear from you, what is your equality fantasy ?
I was once at a student conference where during a heated vote someone said “In with ANGER out with LOVE!!” in an exasperated slightly huffy manner, complete with eyeroll. I’m not sure if she was trying to calm herself down or order the others around us to do so. Anyway, it didn’t work! The vote was tight and there’s nothing like being 21 years old and ‘believing’ to make for a tense night on the floor of a national students conference.
Ahh memories, back in the ‘real world’ of work, I find myself sometimes thinking of this moment (ok, often a lot), when everyone around me is ‘battling’ hard and arguing their case on what a process document should be called or how to describe a ‘problem’ without using the word problem itself (challenge/opportunity/moment of clarity etc) when it all seems a bit ridiculous. But I’m a fan of passion and I have definitely fought hard on getting directives re-worded from ‘you have to do this’ to ‘lets all work together on this’. Language is important after all. So I get it, mostly.
There are of course moments when we (I) lose complete perspective.
Sometimes its that feeling you get when you are talked over again for the 1000th time that day, or when you talk through a presentation and get asked to make it ‘pretty’, or when you provide a report and get asked to add in sentences that are already in it (grrrr).
No one is perfect. Bosses aren’t perfect, colleagues aren’t perfect, you and I are not perfect. So sometimes I think of the quote above and think today I’m just going to love everyone and everything because its better than hating, picking and moaning.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
How do you deal with perfectionism?
Do you expect everyone around you and yourself to be perfect?
And, how do you find ways to dial down the impact of this thinking on your life?
Know Your Value
Define a single sentence value statement for each of the following value types :
- Business value
- Strategic value
- Financial value
- Leadership value
Phrase the sentence as :
In the last [time period], I have led the team to deliver [value] by [1-3 steps to creating this value].
In the last 3 months, I have personally led account building activities which has led to a 50% increase in revenue by identifying key decision makers in resource acquisition in 4 leading companies, developing bespoke sales strategies for each company as well as a series of business strategies which will help these companies increase profit over the immediate 3 month period.
Does your value = promotion ?
Meet with your boss and walk through your ideas on your value, give specific examples for each value.
Check-in with your boss and ask the following questions:
- Do these represent sufficient outcomes to be promoted?
- Do these items represent the value to the business that I have proposed? More/less
- What gaps are there for promotion?
- Do these outcomes represent sufficient skills to do well in the new role?
- Adjust your value statements based on this feedback.
Develop a pitch, pitch it and then repeat it
Use the your value sentences to develop your very own sales-pitch. This should be something you can talk through with senior members of the leadership team. You want to get your message out there so effectively that you start to hear your key words and phrases repeated back to you when other people talk to you about your own work.
When this happen, it means you are being effective in increasing your visibility and doing this in a way that you are leading that visibility.
Your word of mouth is not being defined by what other people are saying about you but by what you want them to say about you.
Aim to create an opportunity for talking through your pitch at least once a week to a senior manager and create a list of target senior managers to be getting in front of to talk through your value.
This is a great activity to complete as a lead in to an ask for promotion. I recommend getting your pitch ready and out there 3 months prior to directly asking for a promotion.
Remember to Listen
Whenever you are in pitch mode, keep your listening ears on. This is not a speech, this an opportunity to be interactive, gain valuable feedback and test the waters to see if the senior manager agrees that you are (1) valuable and (2) promotable. Pay attention to their body language, tone of voice and how responsive they are to your pitch. Your pitch should receive a positive reaction and be received well. If you find this isn’t happening, check-in with how you’re presenting the pitch, how much active listening you are using and if you are presenting yourself in a positive way.
Practice your pitch in front of your web cam or/and a trusted mentor. Watching yourself back will help you adjust how you present your own value. Watch for facial expressions, tone of voice or hand gestures that detract from your pitch.
Make silence your best friend
Silence is a highly under rated tool. Silence allows people space to consider your words, consider their response and provide that response. Don’t take silence as a bad thing. Provide space and structure in the way you communicate for thinking time – both for yourself and the senior manager. Don’t fill pauses, let them linger. You will find you get much more thoughtful and deeper responses if you allow this to happen.
Now, I’d love to hear from you – what are you top tips for building a business case for promotion ? What has worked in the past and what will you try in future, to help get that promotion ?
Susan Colantuono is trail blazer in supporting women’s career progression. This ted talk neatly encapsulates a way of presenting your value to very senior levels of management. See : https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_colantuono_the_career_advice_you_probably_didn_t_get
Another, resource to improve your listening is through regular meditation. I recommend finding meditations on sounds (Gaia has some great 10 minute sessions) as this helps control the way you listen. I’ve found it super helpful in being less distracted by background noise in conversations.
Will you ?
One of the aspects of the book that I really struggled with was saying : “choose one role to focus on!”.
I struggled because at the time I was reviewing the progress of my own promotion plan. I really wanted a promotion but was getting annoyed and frustrated on how long it was taking. Some extra projects, which I had happily spent a lot of my own time working on, hadn’t paid off in the way that I had hoped. And, I realised I had a choice – wait another year for promotion or go elsewhere ?
The vibe was good, my word of mouth was good yet I was getting impatient. I had to acknowledge my momentum had slowed because I had taken time out to write my first book. My energy was directed elsewhere. I knew that this had delayed my promotion, reduced my visibility and meant I hadn’t had a chance to really line up the key decision makers to make the decision that I wanted.
There’s nothing like taking my own medicine to make my bottom lip stick out. Not fair banana bear, I wanted to write a book and get a promotion all in the same year!!
So I did look elsewhere – I talked to my recruitment contacts, I networked and caught up with old friends. But something didn’t feel ‘right’. Inside me was saying – that’s the wrong way, that isn’t even what YOU are recommending !!
So I stayed and within a few months a new senior manager started and I took the opportunity to ask the tough questions :
I want a promotion this time next year and will this role make this happen ?
New Senior Manager said ‘YES’.
I also asked him ‘will you back me for that promotion?’
And again he said ‘YES’.
So I decided to stay.
Lesson learnt! Momentum is powerful because it builds confidence, it also builds random oppourtunities. Being ready to ask the right questions at the right time when that opportunity arises (a new role, new boss, secondment etc) WORKS!
Choose one role and you will have that opportunity to create momentum for your next promotion!
Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you agree that focussing on one role will make it easier for you to get a promotion ?
What is one action you can take this week to get one step closer to getting your next promotion?
I’m Ready Now! is available to purchase for Kindle and Kindle Reader on Amazon.
I always thought keeping a well run, no-surprise team with happy staff members was the way to progress in my career.
All it was, was the way to keep my job.
All I looked was competent.
Without anyone outside my boss knowing my achievements, I never got offered roles. I always had to ask for an opportunity. Yet, I could see people around me being offered roles. How did that happen? Why were they being offered a role and I wasn’t?
So, I started to take a different approach.
I began to think of myself as my own PR Manager.
I began to talk openly about my challenges, ask for guidance, talk about my successes and talk about what I’d like to do. I looked for opportunities to create my own role or tweak my role to what I wanted to do and to play to my strengths.
When opportunities are presented I now have a ‘just say yes’ approach and work it out later.
Earlier in my career, I used to change jobs when a difficult situation seemed like an immovable blocker. Usually just when support was gathering around me.
To get to the other side of big problems demonstrates perseverance, courage and aptitude. It also demonstrates to senior leaders that you are able to ask for help and you’re able to learn and stick at it – you don’t let yourself or your team drown.
It takes time to build credibility.
And, there have been times I’ve needed to sound the alarm and ask for help and say things like ‘I’m overwhelmed’.
This has not led to the death of my career.
The important thing I’ve learnt is that sometimes the philosophy of ‘I can do it on my own’ is not useful in the workplace.
Independence is great, isolation is not.
Be open to support. Everyone has troubles in the workplace – the crazy project, the poor performer, the bully to deal with.
I’ve learnt that by being patient, staying calm (mostly) and waiting things out (with limits) has led to greater support and acceptance of who I am and how I am as a leader.
If I can do this in a senior role in IT, you can too.
This is why I wrote ‘I’m Ready Now!’ to help provide a set of activities to build up your confidence, sense of direction and deliberately plan out your next promotion.
Subscribe to get the free My Promotion Plan and tool to help plan out your next promotion today!
And, to grab a copy of I’m Ready Now go to Amazon to purchase today!