Last month I was invited to speak to about 75 Young Professionals from the local community on this topic. It was my pleasure to share some practical ideas to a room full of enthusiastic achievers!

It was a jam-packed session, full of energy and ideas. Here are some key takeaways and notable quotes from my talk. Take what you like and ignore the rest.

  • To get promoted in the real world we first need to accept that we live on planet earth, not planet “fair.” Fairness is a wonderful concept, to which no adult is entitled.
  • Congratulations! You are the CEO of your own career. As CEO, there is no place to hide, no one to blame, nowhere to run; you are accountable for the path you are on.
  • As CEO of our careers we need to bring our best: we can’t call it in. Don’t hold back!
  • You may be CEO of your career but it’s not every man or woman for themselves… we win by helping our organization win.
  • Bring unexpected value; always give more than what’s normal or anticipated.
  • Image2WebsiteWhy are you pursuing this promotion or opportunity? When your WHY is big enough, the HOW doesn’t matter. Your WHY must be uniquely personal and it must matter intensely to you. When you get clear on your WHY, you will muster the courage to handle the HOW.
  • Every promotion or lateral move requires a) facing uncertainty and the risk of failure, b) acquiring new skills and knowledge, and c) handling new and changing relationships. Expect these things to happen.
  • You won’t be ready for your promotion… but don’t let that stop you. If you wait until you are ready, you’re probably not really the CEO (of your career that is).
  • Just because something is new and uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s hard. We must learn lots of little things to succeed.
  • Know what you’re good at and do as much of that stuff as possible.
  • Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, and it will, that your ego goes with it. (See the blog post on this topic.)
  • We often forget that our current job title is merely the name of the role we play in the organization… for now. This role need not define our impact in the organization.
  • When we build credibility within ourselves first, it will spread to others later.
  • In pocket billiards, novices shoot and hope that something falls in. Seasoned players call their shots; when the balls go in we know it was intentional. To build credibility, say what you’ll do (call your shot), then do it (without boasting). Repeat!
  • Get involved in projects that take time, cost or hassle out of the processes that drive results. Leave drama and politics to others. People who get promoted look through the veil to see the bride.
  • Your boss cares about results, not egos, and not fairness. Promotions are never about you anyway. They are always about what more you can do to advance the needs of the organization.
  • Find out your boss’ opinion on what’s important, where she thinks the company is now, and where she wants to take it. Then set up a way to measure your progress before you get to work (so you can call your shot).
  • To get promoted, free yourself from “victims and villains” thinking. You are not a victim, others are not villains; they are behaving that way for some reason. Combat your natural paranoia and tell yourself another equally plausible story. This liberates you so you can focus on the job at hand.
  • Develop a meaningful spiritual life. You may come to learn how little you are responsible for. Pursue truth, make time for quiet, deep thinking and you may uncover new horizons of real growth.
  • You aren’t in prison so don’t serve out a sentence (like a victim would). You always have the choice to leave…. and the flipside is this: since you are choosing to stay you might as well thrive!
  • People who get promoted engage in discussions about the real issues so don’t polite all over each other.
  • Choose face-to-face, in-person, 2-way dialog whenever possible. Effective people are willing to be influenced by others as much as they want influence over them. Listening well is the heart and soul of building trust – which is vital if you want to be promoted.

What we talked about above is not theory. With attentive practice you may get yourself a lot more than just that promotion. Good luck with your career!

Missed the YP event last month? Or in need of a refresher? Check out Part 1 of the “Be Credible and Get Promoted Without Losing Your Integrity” video series on YouTube.