Climbing the Corporate Cliff


Getting promoted has often been compared with climbing a ladder, but in the real world it’s more like climbing a cliff. You don’t always know what your next step will be and it can be really scary, but the view from the top of a cliff is whole lot more breathtaking than the view from the top of a ladder. What does it take to reach the precipice?

Know the direction and stick to it…. Relentlessly. Understand the overall strategy of the business. What are the one, five and ten year goals of the company? How can your department support these goals? Be able to articulate the answers to these questions not only to your superiors, but also to your peers in a way that inspires them to deliver. Know what path the company is taking and work tirelessly to move in step and get there; speak up when things don’t align and cheer loudly when they do.

Be for the good of the group. Gain advocates by nurturing a reputation of others above self; fiercely protecting your own interests and success is the first way to lose support from your team. Grow your cheering section by avoiding brown nosing, giving ample credit where credit is due, losing the humble brag, spewing genuine compliments, and steering clear of office gossip. Your bosses want to promote people who will take care of the group.

Stay nourished. Fill your mind with good food to keep going even when the work seems unabating. Always be consuming information about your industry, best practices and personal growth. Be in the know on new trends, share ideas on strategy (technical, business, or people) and lead the team with your example. You can do this by finding authors, TED Talks, Podcasts, influencers and blogs that inspire you to keep learning and leading.

You asked for it. Ask for it. Ask for feedback. Ask for mentoring. Ask for a promotion. Ask to be a lead on a new project. Ask how you can help. Ask what you need to do better. Ask what would make you more qualified for the next step. Asking for it shows your leadership that you are interested in staying with the company, that you think the future is bright for the business, that you are willing to change based on criticism, that you are willing to take on more, and that you want to do more.  

The bottom line. Know where the business is going, care about your company and your team, feed your brain and ask for guidance from your leadership. If you want to do more, but aren’t sure you’re up for doing this with your current company, team or leadership … then find a place where you want to.

Keep your eyes out for more promotion climbing tips from Even Better.

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