Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to Get Promoted...But is the Effort Worth It?

Dan Schwabel, a biggie in the personal branding arena sent me these questions for an article he's writing for Details magazine. Here were my answers. At the end, I wrote something that surprised me and may be worthy of your reading.

What does it take to get a promotion at work right now?
One or more of these, the more the merrier: a better job offer, demonstrated greater value added compared with peers, promise of doing a better job than the person currently in the desired position, an industry award, a bold proposal, sleeping with the boss.

What is the most unique strategy you would recommend for current workers who are looking to get ahead in this economy?
Write a proposal for an initiative that, while consistent with the culture and mission of the organization, would be an exciting yet realistic quantum leap ahead for the organization. Send it, in advance, to the attendees of an important meeting. Get their input. Get permission to present the revised version at the meeting. Make that presentation with CEO-like crispness.(Watch C-Span, CNBC, and YouTube to see CEO types in action.)

What is your take on going the extra mile at work and helping out other teams if you have those skills?
Working s generally more rewarding, both financially and in accomplishment, than going home, watching TV, playing golf, and/or drinking or doing drugs.

What do you think about transparency at work? Should all workers be that honest?
It's not realistic. Especially in tough times, inside knowledge can be very helpful. It's all well and good to say "Share for the common good," but in the end, most people act in their self-interest--they want to get ahead or at least don't want to be a victim of the next round of layoffs.

How important is it to be connected to your colleagues through social networks? I know you think it's key. I think it's usually overrated---Most people spend more time at it than the benefits they derive (e.g., participating in the discussions on LinkedIn.) I do like Guy Kawasaki's YouTube video 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn and his article Ten Twitter Tips.

Do you believe that growing your brand outside of your company can help you inside?
Yes. Give speeches at conferences, get articles written about you in trade publications.

But Dan, frankly, having had a zillion clients play these games to "get ahead," it feels a little sickening, kind of like the movie, They Shoot Horses Don't They, in which everyone's pitted against each other to see who can dance the longest. All but the winner collapse and even the winner is exhausted. Trouble is, I don't know what the answer is. Socialism is probably, net, worse.


Maureen Nelson said...

Ah, more of the Marty Nemko Dystopia. You didn't your meds, did you?

I got promoted in Dec. of last year and it changed my life. I got a better division, a better [more connected] boss, a better job title, a better building, a better salary and it poised me to make the leap to the job I have now, which is where I'd rather be.

(And by better building, I mean more supplies, closer to public transport, a better neighborhood; same building as HR and Finance so I could quickly get my questions answered by stopping by a cube, and I was closer to senior management. It was common for the CEO to walk around and talk to people. That never happened in my old position. I frequently was able to lunch with the power brokers simply because I was in their building and they knew my face. And I got a whole lot more watercooler chatter so I had a heads-up about everything affecting the organization or my division.)

Promotion is not for everyone. I know a Swede who says few people in Sweden actively seek promotions because they know they'll end up with more work but not much more take-home pay after the taxes.

Perhaps the question isn't "Is it worth it?" but "Could a strategically planned promotion put me closer to my final goal?"

It did worked for me.

Cornhusker said...


Thanks for the confirmation.

I also tried these tactics to no avail.

I always thought it was just me!


blogger templates | Make Money Online