This is the question playing on most people’s mind especially this time of the year. Some say it while others wrestle with it in their head. At the risk of oversimplifying, we ask ourselves -
- I have X years of experience, more than some of the people that are already in that title. Why am I not at that title?
- I have been in the same title for X years and deserve a promotion.
- I have been meeting my goals then what is preventing me to get promoted?
- Before joining, I was already playing this role then why is that being discounted?
- And perhaps, the one which is most unsettling – while others in the past got promoted on XYZ parameters, why is it different when it comes to me?
So, if you are one of those who want to understand how to get promoted, read on!
There are two broad factors that have a direct bearing on promotion -
- Availability of a role (by and large an individual has only a little influence over this)
- Readiness of the individual (this is in one’s control)
Both factors must converge around the same time frame and finally, your readiness will be assessed (and validated) by your supervisor – self-attestation is inconsequential!
Let’s start with availability of role. This is a function of macro factors for e.g. is the business growing or staying flat or worse, declining? Is this trend specific to our company or across the industry? If we are growing, what positions will, therefore, become available as a consequence of that growth? If we are not growing, there may still be a need for new roles in response to changing times just to maintain status quo. For e.g. market gets more competitive and we require more senior people to do the same work effectively. And finally, new roles get created as people transition out to other teams or in some cases, new organizations. Clearly, there is so much one can do to create a meaningful role.
So what is within my control?
Comparing one to earlier promotions is believing that you will require the same money for college education today as was the case before. Really? Criterion used in the past to promote people is not static and will keep on evolving. All of us, including supervisors will learn, and discover new ways of doing things. Skills and values that were key to success earlier are likely to be table-stakes in the future and the role, in all likelihood, will require a higher level of proficiency.
For example, in the field of recruiting, relevance of new platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is redefining the landscape and one cannot remain ignorant of them to advance. Similarly, finding talent is table-stakes, how we convert that cold-lead to an interested prospect is more valuable. There is a higher value attributed to those who demonstrate skills such as assertiveness, tact during negotiation, stakeholder management, conflict management, critical thinking, and problem solving. And, companies seek out individuals who are willing to reinvent themselves, challenge status quo, help build skills of the team, demonstrate thought leadership, share perspectives, can sing or shake a leg. Ok, the last two are made up!
As you can discern, in the new age, we need multitude of skills in the same individual. Are you ready and equally equipped in all? And, as you wait for the opportunity to become “available”, are you investing in areas that will accelerate your readiness?