Ep #20: Laying the Foundation for Your Next Promotion
Chances are good that you have been wanting a promotion for awhile now. Maybe you were even in line to receive one until your only sponsor left the company? Maybe you thought you were a shoe in for the next level only to watch them bring in someone from the outside? Or perhaps you're just thinking that it would be nice to have something to show for all of your hard work at the end of this year?
There is a way to ensure that you actually receive your next promotion and it starts by laying a solid foundation now.
Without a rock solid foundation in place you will always be at the whim of others. You will feel like you have to wait to be offered the next level of responsibility. And there is no guarantee you'll be successful once you get there.
Join me on the podcast this week as I highlight three key areas that you can focus on that will set you up for success at the next leadership level. And when you do them you will not only be ready for your next promotion but you'll be in line for many more to come.
I'm offering a free Live webinar on "How the Biggest Career Jumps are Made During Times of Crisis." If you want to develop the skills I teach you on my podcast so that you can finally get the recognition you deserve, sign up at stacymayer.com/crisiswebinar and learn how. There are limited spots, so don't hesitate to sign up.
What You'll Learn:
- The key to making sure you never get passed up for a promotion again.
- Why it's so much easier to focus on what's not working instead of a solution.
- The reason a solid foundation ensures your success once you get the promotion.
- Why it's difficult for other's to trust that you're ready for a promotion without this foundation.
- How to not be afraid to take risks along the way.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
|Hello, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer. I am so excited, as always, to be here with you this evening as I'm recording this episode. I had an absolutely amazing conversation today with two different clients. And I want to start out before I get into today's episode with celebrating them and sharing with you what is happening for them right now. And these are two different calls. It just happens to be that I had them both today. And they're both vice presidents at their organization. And essentially, the work that they're doing right now is they're operating at a C-suite level. Now, I don't know if you've ever thought about this strategy before as a promotion strategy for yourself, but I'll tell you it's a really darn good one, is to start acting like an executive now in the current role that you have, work two or at least one level above you because here's what's going to happen. You're going to start seeing things differently. You're going to start anticipating challenges.|
|So here's the example from one of them is that she was telling me why she is having such phenomenal sales months in March and April. Actually, her numbers are higher on her sales team than in previous years. And she works in higher education. It's not a field that's actually buying anything right now. And in fact, most of them are closed. Most of the universities-- oh, actually, all of the universities, I guess, are closed. So she doesn't even have access to her contacts right now. And her sales months were still higher in March and April than they were in previous years. And she attributes that to her ability to act fast. So in January when she started hearing about the outbreak happening in China, she immediately started implementing a COVID-19 strategy for her team. She started having conversations with them right away, right off the bat. She didn't wait to be told what to do. She stepped into high gear and anticipated the problems, knowing what her longterm goals were, knowing what she needed to hit. And then I asked her today how she was handling and managing some of the stress because she's working a lot. There's a lot of challenging situations coming up at work. And she said, "I'm just focusing on what I can control." And I was so proud of her because this is not how we started coaching. I think we've been working together for about nine months, and that is not the person who's showed up to coaching to begin with.|
|So usually, when people come to me for coaching, they're looking for somebody to help them figure out how to get out of the weeds, how to think more strategically, how to manage their emotions. They're wishing they could be as proactive as she was. And she is a phenomenal leader. She has always been a phenomenal vice president. But I told her today, I said, "Congratulations. You have officially graduated to the C-suite." And that's the key, people. Start acting like the role that you want to have. So not only is she building confidence in herself as a leader, that she can actually handle the challenges that are faced at the C-suite level, but her peers and the leadership team are developing trust in her at that higher executive level. So they'll have no choice but to promote her. And even if they don't, she will go out and find the job that she needs to find. She'll find the right fit eventually if she's not able to make the impact that she really wants to make because she is driving her career. Super proud, super excited. Another client of mine is also a vice president acting at the C-suite level. So she works in human resources. And when the crisis hit-- she also works in manufacturing, so all of her plants were completely shut down. And the only people left on staff who weren't furloughed were the leadership team. And she just got to work. And I'm so proud of her. She developed this health and safety protocol for her organization anticipating when and how people were going to come back to work. And other human resource experts are actually coming to her for advice. They're asking her what she's done, how she came up with this plan. It's absolutely incredible. I am so proud of both of these phenomenal now executives. So they haven't received the title change yet, but clearly they are operating at that C-suite level. And so a promotion is literally right around the corner for them.|
|Another thing that I want to talk to you about before we get into today's episode is a live webinar that I'm doing over the next couple of weeks about how the biggest career jumps are made during times of crisis. So these are two examples of phenomenal leaders who were given the opportunity to really step up, to step into a high-performance leadership role, to thrive during crisis, to anticipate challenges. These are all elements of being a senior leader. It doesn't get easier at the top. It gets harder, but the thing is that the impact that you're able to make at that higher executive level is why people do it. Otherwise, they wouldn't do it if they weren't able to really make an impact, to see organizations grow, to build teams just because they were in charge, to be an example to others of what can be possible in leadership, in terms of a leader, to show empathy to their team, to show other leaders how to be compassionate and empathetic, and also strong and willing to advocate for themselves even during times of crisis. So this webinar, you can register for it for free. It's going to be live. So definitely sign up as soon as possible because spaces are limited. Go to stacymayer.com/crisiswebinar. That's S-T-A-C-Y-M-A-Y-E-R.com/crisiswebinar.|
|Now, into today's episode. So I'm going to be talking to you today about this foundation. So laying a foundation for your next promotion is anticipating that you are, in fact, going to get promoted in the near future and actually doing something about it. So many leaders want to be promoted and they get really frustrated. I'll give you an example because this is basically 90% of the phone calls that I get when I get consults because people were passed over for a promotion. So if you can relate to this, I'll tell you a story. Let's just call her Jane. Jane actually came to me for that same reason because she had been recently passed over for a promotion and she never wanted that to happen again. And I asked her, "Did you actually tell anyone that you wanted to get promoted?" And she said, "Well, I kind of mentioned it a few times." "Did you actually get feedback onto what it's going to take for you to get promoted to that next level?" "Well, no, not really." "And did you actually do anything besides just being good at your job to put yourself in a position to actually allow them to trust you so that they could promote you into that senior executive level?" Because, I mean, this is like losing 10 pounds here. You can wish it all day long, but until you actually start doing something about it, you might not lose 10 pounds. You might get lucky. Just like with a promotion, you might get lucky. You might get promoted anyway, which will be awesome. But the good news is just that when you create a strategy and you actually have a plan and you're focusing on your own professional development and you know where you're headed and you know what it's going to take to get there, well, then it's repeatable. So then when a crisis hits, you're not scared if you get laid off because you know exactly how to go out and get another job. You know what that next position is. You've already been thinking about your career three, five years down the road. So going back online and having conversations with your network is easy.|
|This is crisis management at a leadership level. They are used to dealing with crisis. And that is what I teach you on this podcast. That's what I'm going to show you in my webinar coming up. This is the same strategy that I teach all of my clients. I really do not want you to get passed over for yet another promotion. I don't want you to be blindsided, and I'm so glad that you're here so that that will not happen to you. So let's think for a minute about laying this foundation. Now, we know that concept of a house, right, and the foundation and making sure that that foundation is rock solid. And I live out in California, and foundations are so important. I grew up in Kentucky. And so I never really thought about whether or not I lived in a sturdy house like the Big Bad Wolf or whatever going to huff and puff and blow your house down. I didn't really think about that. But when you live in earthquake country and you buy a house, you want to make sure that it has a rock-solid foundation. So that's the first piece, is making sure that you don't get distracted by the shiny objects, that you don't get distracted by the paint colors and the fixtures on the cabinets before you have built that strong foundation.|
|So what I mean by that is so many leaders are thinking about the end result. They want a promotion or they want the five-story mansion, right? You're thinking about, "I want this gigantic house to raise my family in and how beautiful and amazing it's going to be. Why don't I have it? Why don't I have it? Why don't I have it?" And they forget that they haven't even started building the foundation. And so that's why it's so important to really focus on, what are those elements, that foundational elements that if I don't get this taken care of, then nothing matters. It doesn't matter if I have a really strong beautiful fixtures or faucets or toilet, fancy toilet or something because as soon as a crisis rolls through, your house is going to be blown down. As soon as the next earthquake comes, it's going to collapse right in front of you. And I don't want that for you. So I'm going to tell you the key elements today about how and what you need to look forward to make sure that you have that leadership foundation in place so that you know and you feel confident that you are ready for that extra level of leadership. And so that your leadership team is confident in you that they can promote you into that next level of leadership. Now, I'm going to make sure, by giving you three very specific steps, that you have a solid sound foundation for your next promotion, so that you never have to be passed over again. Step number one, make sure that you have a long term vision, you need to know where you are headed in your career. Now, one of the requirements of a senior level leadership position is knowing what the long vision is for the organization, for your team. And you might already be pretty good at this, understanding this. And one of the neat things about taking your own professional development seriously is that you can start to apply that to your own career as well. So the same skills that you're doing to make sure that you're setting strategic goals for your organization, and actually making progress towards those goals, are the same skills that you'll be able to use to make your own professional development.|
|So one of the things that we know about long term vision is that when your vision is super clear, all of the things and the decisions that you need to make in the moment, are also crystal clear.|
|So when I talk about being able to make faster and better decisions, the reason that you're able to do that is because your long term vision is very clear. So you're always making choices based on where you're headed, not where you're at. I'll repeat that again. You're making choices based on where you're headed, not where you're at. So a great example of this is if you feel like you're struggling right now, and you're barely keeping your head above water, that is making a decision based on where you're at. Now, it may not feel like a decision, but everything that you're doing in your life is a choice. So that is a choice that you're making to survive right now. Another choice could be to think about your long term vision. So if you have certain requirements that you feel like you need to actually do and accomplish as part of your job, you're also doing other things, like making sure that you're only taking certain projects that move you towards your long term vision. So really being able to differentiate, is this getting me closer to my goals, or farther away from my goals? Is this actually helping me make a bigger impact at my organization, if that is in fact what you would like to do. So making sure that this is just part of your daily cadence. These are the questions that you're always, always asking yourself. The second step to laying this foundation is making sure that you have very targeted communication strategies. Every single person that you're talking to, you know what you want out of the conversation and you know how you're going to get it so if you're having a meeting, you know what the number one outcome is going to be. You know what you need from that meeting. If you don't know what you need from that meeting and you're just showing up, then ask yourself, "Do I even need to attend this meeting?" It's a great question. Now, one reason why you might want to attend a meeting is because it's with the entire leadership team and you don't have any face time with them. And so you don't really know your tactical purpose. It doesn't actually have to do with your job for you to be in that meeting. But your outcome that you want to achieve is to get in front of the leadership team. And that is what you're doing. And so that's an outcome that you want to achieve by being in this meeting. So if at any point it seems like you can tie in what your team is working on or what you are working on with a bigger vision of the organization, then, by all means, raise your hand and say it. So that gives you actual communication framework. When do I speak up? What is it that I want to say in this meeting or in this conversation.|
|Making sure that your conversations with your boss are also the same way. So really asking yourself, "Am I just getting updates? Am I just waiting to be told what to do or am I sharing some of these high-performance learnings that I'm learning right now? Am I sharing those with my boss?" I just want you to know that I'm actually really enjoying this project that you gave me because that actually really aligns with my longterm vision to become vice president, and if I want to become vice president, I realized that I'm going to need to be expanding my influence in the organization and being cross-functional, and this project is giving me that opportunity. So just making sure that you're really relaying that information to your boss and not just getting check-ins and waiting to be told what to do. Every single conversation that you're having right now is super, super important and you just want to make sure that it's targeted and focused.|
|And the third step to make sure that you're really laying a solid foundation for your promotion in the future is your willingness to grow. Having growth as one of your core values is amazing. Why? Because growth is challenging. And what we tend to do when we feel challenges is we tend to want to run away from them or we tend to ignore them by just absorbing ourselves in our work. That is a form of ignoring the problem. So you just work really hard, head down, and you just focus and you try and get a bunch of different things done versus pulling your head up and saying, "Okay, what is the most important thing that I need to be doing right now? Or how can I maximize my effectiveness right now? Or what's the bigger vision? Where am I headed?" Taking that time is actually more difficult and more challenging. So having growth as one of your core values is a excellent reminder when you feel it's hard. It's hard to put yourself out there. It's harder to have the conversations with your boss that's actually talking about your career growth. You feel like it's harder to actually raise your hand at the leadership team meetings than it would be just to sit tight and keep your mouth shut. And so when you're doing something that's hard or challenging and you have growth as one of your core values, then you're like, "Oh, that's just part of the game. I'm growing into a high-performance leader right before my very eyes." So here's the deal. If you do these things, if you create that long-term vision and you make decisions from that place, if you have super crystal clear targeted communication with everyone, you're managing your emotions, you're making sure you get what you came for, and you also have the willingness to grow, if you do these three things over the next six months, I promise you, you will not only be set up to succeed, but you will be happier in the process. Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next week. Bye.|
About Your Host
Hi, I’m Stacy Mayer, a Leadership Coach for emerging executives who are ready to take their career to the next level or seeking more fulfillment in their current organizational roles.
I help corporate managers reposition themselves to advance their careers, build confidence in their ability to solve problems in real-time, and step into their higher leadership potential so they can make a bigger impact in their organizations.
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