Hello everyone - welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacey Mayer, and super excited, as always, to be here with you this week. We are in the month of November, and for me, this is actually one of the most important months of this entire year. And that is because my book is scheduled to release on November 30th. I can't even believe it. It feels like it's right around the corner - and it actually is. It's happening. The book is already being sent to print. It's being printed as we speak. The book orders are being put together and I just really can't believe that it's actually - I'm going to hold this book in my hands in just a couple of weeks after you hear this episode. Very, very exciting.
So, today's episode is actually going to be a little bit about my book and the process; and why I actually wrote the book and the concepts, of course, that I talk about in the book. But overall, I just want to share with you some of the ways that I think about getting promoted into senior executive leadership positions and how I lead my clients through that process. But before we do that, I want to share with you one of the endorsements - one of the early endorsements - that I got from my book. So, I sent my book to a couple of people in the world who are doing work that I really admire and are also have a similar mission of getting more diversity to the leadership table; and asked them to take a look at my book and if they were willing to write an advanced endorsement about it.
And one of the endorsements that I wanted to share with you today is very near and dear to my heart. So, Trudy Bourgeois, who you heard on this podcast last year, she was one of those women. Trudy is the author of Equality, Courageous Conversations about Women, Men and Race to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough. She's one of my role models and somebody that I have really admired for many, many years. And so, to have her write this little blurb about my book is such an honor. She says “Stacy is redefining women’s leadership where ‘high potential’ is no longer an acceptable job title, and the leadership table more accurately reflects the world we live in. Any leader who is serious about sustained business success will benefit from the pearls of wisdom in this book."
Thank you so much for Trudy for leaving this wonderful endorsement for my book, and I hope that for those of you listening that this inspires you to go out on November 30th, and not only purchase my book, but to share the wisdom that I share on this podcast inside of the book and the tools with a woman who you know, who also needs to be promoted into a senior executive leadership position; because I am on a mission to change the way we do business from the C-Suite out - so let's get more of you into those higher-level executive positions.
So now let's go into a little bit more about my book. So, I'm just going to start at the beginning - the title. That's the first thing that you see when you look at my book and it's called Promotions Made Easy - A Step by Step Guide to the Executive Suite. So, in today's episode, I'm really going to focus on why I believe - and why I teach - that promotions really are easy when you do certain things. And that is how I've created all of my programs and what I share on this podcast. And I'm going to break that down for you a little bit more today. So last week, I hosted an Executive Ahead of Time mini-training session. So, this was for people who have been following me for a while, whether they're listeners of my podcast or they've been on my email list, they've been doing the work that I teach, but they're not inside of my Executive Ahead of Time training program yet. And I wanted to give them a little bit of a taste of what I teach and share inside of the program.
So, I started out with a question, and I asked the women in the group how many of them thought that promotions were hard, that it was difficult to get promoted into a higher executive leadership position. And every single one of them, except for one person - I'm going to tell you about her in a minute - all immediately raised their hand. Absolutely - me. And so, if you're somebody who listens to this podcast, you might feel the same way. You might feel like promotions are hard. It's complicated. It's luck of the draw. It's whatever that experience, maybe you've been passed over for a promotion before you've been burned for an opportunity, you missed your chance, whatever that might be for you, it feels complicated and difficult. And then the one woman who did not raise her hand, I wanted to check in with her and see what her situation is. Because if she's figured out the magic sauce - like I have - I want to hear about it. And so, what she was saying was that in her case, she's actually being promoted this week. And she felt like in her case, it came out of nowhere. It was easy. She didn't have to do anything that I teach on the podcast. The promotion just happened. And if you've been listening to my podcast for a while, I say all the time, you don't have to do what I teach to get promoted. That is not the case.
Many times, in your career, you're going to get promoted without really doing anything. By just doing good at your job, you're going to get promoted. So why was she on this call? Why was she wanting to learn from me and the process inside of Executive Ahead of Time? And she said, 'it's because I have no idea how to be successful once I get that promotion.' And so that's the other side of the coin - is that once you get the promotion, you have to start behaving like that senior executive leader. And that's what she was afraid of, she was like, 'well, the promotion itself came easy, but now I have to become the executive.' And so, what I teach is: through the process of getting ourselves promoted, we are genuinely becoming that executive ahead of time so that we are setting ourselves up for success for the rest of our career. And so that's what I want all of you to understand is that when I say promotions are easy, I just mean, we're going to take some steps that are going to set us up to be seen as that executive leader now. Or perhaps we already have the title, and we want to be seen as the executive leader in the position that we're already in. We want to be successful in that role. So, like I said, today's episode is going to be focusing - even unpacking a little bit - more about why promotions feel hard, and what you can start to do instead.
So, I have a couple of reasons that I have found that for most women, promotions feel very difficult. And you'll notice that I'm not really addressing in these three points anything like gender bias or systemic racism at work or being isolated because of these certain qualities. And I want to acknowledge that all of that absolutely happens in the workplace. And if that's happening for you, I also want to find a way out and using these steps and the process that I teach is going to show you that you are doing the right things. And if you're still not getting promoted, it might be because that company or that organization doesn't support you and doesn't actually walk the talk of diversity and inclusion in executive leadership. And so that's also why it's important to do this work, so that you can figure out for yourself, 'wait, it's not me. I need to go to work someplace else where it's a more inclusive environment.'.
So, I just want to say that caveat at the beginning and really be clear that I'm not advocating that in every single situation that you're automatically going to be included. Because if you're an ‘other,’ quote-unquote other, in your organization, you don't look or talk or make decisions like everybody else in the room, there are certain things that may or may not be happening to you and microaggressions along the way that have very little to do with your ability to get promoted. So that's a side note, but a very important side note that I really want to set up from the beginning.
So, I'm going to move away from why you might be feeling that promotions are hard - like what it feels like to you 'this feels very difficult'; and now move into why promotions actually are hard. And there are three main reasons that I find that make promotions very difficult for people. And the good news is, is that you are doing this yourself. The reason the promotions are hard for you - there is a reason, and these are what they are. So, the number one reason why promotions actually are difficult for you is because you're receiving a lot of bad advice. And what do I mean by bad advice? It means that you are getting advice from your boss, from HR, from your other colleagues, and you are getting really bad advice, quite frankly. And you're listening to that advice and you're literally asking the question, 'what's it going to take for me to get promoted?' And then they're giving you an answer. And in my opinion, 90 percent of the time, especially if you're not actually feeling like you're able to make strides towards that promotion, the advice that they're giving you is terrible.
So, the first thing that I want you to understand is whenever somebody is giving us advice, it is through their lens. They're not lying to you. They don't mean to give you bad advice, but they have a way that they see the world. And that is not the same thing as being true. They have a way of seeing the world and the situation, and that is not the same thing as what is actually going to get you promoted. And this is a huge, huge difference. And when you can start to realize that it's possible that you're getting really bad advice on what it's going to take to get promoted, then you could start to do something about it and investigate it for yourself.
So, I have a client who was looking to get promoted into executive leadership, and about two or three years ago, she received some really good advice from her boss. And it was that she was too far into the weeds, and if she wanted to move into a vice president level, she was going to need to pull herself out of the weeds. She wasn't going to continue to rely on her subject matter expertise. And this is excellent advice. This is what I talk about on the podcast. Totally agree with this advice. It was great advice, and she did something about it. So, she changed her behavior, both in how she was communicating, how she was leading her team. She started leading her team in a more visionary way and she noticed that she was no longer in that pattern. And this took about a year for her to kind of break out of it. And actually, maybe it was a couple of years, and she signed up for Executive Ahead of Time. And when she came into the program, the first thing that she said is, 'wow, I really took his advice. He told me to do this, and I pulled myself out of the weeds and everything you're describing, Stacey, I have already done. So why am I still not getting promoted?' So, she took his advice. It was good advice at the time. And so now she has been asking him like, 'Okay, well, what else do I do?' And he's like, 'Oh, you're doing great, just keep doing what you're doing. And when an opportunity opens up, we will put you in it.' And so, you have probably heard this before, and you've also heard me get on my soapbox about how this is such bad advice. And in here, I'm going to break down why.
So thankfully, she was inside of Executive Ahead of Time, and I was able to coach her through this process so that she didn't have to take that advice for face value. And instead of keeping doing what she was doing, she decided to start to build relationships using the process that I teach called 15-minute ally meetings. And so, she went to other people in the organization and really started to have conversations with them, talk about her bigger vision, what she wanted out of her career, what she was looking for next. She didn't take it at face value that she just needed to sit and wait for an opportunity to present itself. And what ended up happening was one of these women that she had spoken with decided when the timing was right that they had a perfect opportunity for her on her team. And they said, 'You know what, we're going to create this role for you. And not only are we going to create this role for you, but I want you to ask for three things - I want you to ask for the title that you want, I want you to ask for the team that you want, and I want you to ask for the compensation you want; and don't pull out any stops.'
This is huge. So, what did she do? She decided not to sit and wait. She didn't just keep doing what she was doing. She went out and found the next best role for herself. And now she is able to make an even bigger impact at her organization, not just because she got the promotion, but she is working in a group that is way more aligned with her long-term vision for her career, which is to someday become a chief impact officer. And so, this is what I mean by we're getting this really bad advice. And it's really difficult to decipher from - is that the advice that I'm supposed to be getting or not? And the best way to tell is, am I only communicating with my boss? Am I only relying on the information that my boss is providing me? Or am I connecting with other people in the organization? Here are some other pieces of bad advice that I want you guys to watch - start watching out for that's making promotions harder for you.
One is you have to wait until the next promotion cycle. Really bad idea. You have to wait because we're having a hiring freeze. Don't do that. Anything that involves you sort of sitting on your hands and waiting, please, I beg you - Stop. And what I mean by 'stop' is, of course, you're not going to keep going back to your boss and say, 'What about that promotion?' And then he's like, 'Wait until the next promotion cycle.' No, you're going to take steps to start shifting perceptions so that you are being seen as that executive leader. You're building those relationships. You're speaking to the vision. You're finding projects that you can work on. You're doing things to actively progress your career. You're not just waiting until the next promotion cycle.
Another piece of really bad advice is 'speak up more'. Or perhaps the other side of the coin is that you're too aggressive. Both of these things are terrible, terrible advice. Because first of all, what the heck are you supposed to do with it? So, let's say it's something like you speak up more, but your room is the leadership table, or your management rooms are filled with a room full of men that are already speaking up, that are already yelling, that are already talking about their ideas all the time. And you don't want to add more noise to the conversation. Or perhaps you're told that you're too aggressive? Well, quite frankly, yes, maybe there is an aspect, not that you're too aggressive, but that maybe you're talking too much about the promotion itself -'Give me the promotion, give me the promotion, give me the promotion. And what you really need to start doing is show that you're ready for growth and start becoming and making steps to become that executive ahead of time.
So, these are some examples of bad advice and that we hear that advice. It's okay to take the advice, but then I want you to make it your own and figure out what you're personally going to do about it. And that's why having a coach or situations like Executive Ahead of Time where you can get this sort of third-party opinion about that advice is really, really important.
So, the second reason why you're making promotions a heck of a lot harder for yourself, is that you are working on the wrong things. So, you are working and doing things in your day to day that are not helping you get promoted into higher level executive positions. So, one thing that I see a lot of women working on that doesn't help them is their relationship with their boss. And for me, I like to see your relationship with your boss to be fine. Like average - I'm okay with that. Now, if you have a boss that is genuinely there to advocate for your career, that is a great sponsor for you - great. Continue cultivating that relationship. But for most of you, your boss is, first of all, only one title up from you. So, it's going to be challenging for them to promote you, especially if it's into a position that's competitive with them.
And the second thing is - is that they just have a lot of work to get done. And so, I want you to have an average relationship with your boss and stop focusing so much on changing your boss's opinion about you; and start focusing on ‘how can we get other people to be on board with your promotion’ - to see how valuable you are to the organization. Because I guarantee you if your boss's boss wants you to get promoted, you're much more likely to get promoted than just if your boss wants you to get promoted. So, you're working on the wrong thing.
The other thing is - perhaps you're relying on your subject matter expertise. You're relying on being good at your job to equate to a promotion. You're head down, you're working harder - when I finish this project, when I hit this deadline, when I accomplish X Y Z, then I will be promoted. So that is not helping you. That's working on the wrong thing. You're actually not setting yourself up for a promotion.
And the other thing that I see that a lot of women are doing that is wrong is they're waiting to hate their job, to apply for something else. So, when your job is okay, or even really good - let's say you really enjoy the work you're doing, you just want to make it to the next level - you're waiting too long to begin to think about, and start setting yourself up for that next level, or even outside opportunities. You're waiting until you hate your job and you're ready to leave before you start building that network outside. So that's working on the wrong things.
Either you are just focusing on your boss and your boss's opinion of you, or you're focusing on being better at your job. Or perhaps you're thinking all or nothing. Either I am looking for another opportunity or I'm focusing on my job, and that's not the case. So, I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time and all of my Leadership Table programs - people, women who have been working with me for six months, a year, two years, they always hear me say that we're always interviewing and interviewing internally, externally, building those relationships. We're always thinking about what is next and proactively taking steps to get there.
So, two of the things I already mentioned that are making promotions hard for you is bad advice and working on the wrong things. And then the third thing which is actually, quite frankly, the easiest to solve and to start doing something different today, and that's that you're not working on your promotion at all. And so many women are not deliberately managing their career. They're just doing their job. They have so many other things going on in their life. And all of a sudden, they look up and they say, 'Whoa, where am I headed? Is this what I want to be doing for the next 20 years of my life?' And the reason why I say this is easy to change is because you can begin deliberately managing your career. Yesterday, in fact, you can listen to my podcast episode that I did recently, where I lay out my step-by-step promotion blueprint that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time. And you can begin creating that process of deliberately managing your career so that you have that career pathway for the next 20 years. And this is also going to allow you to fix these first two steps so that you're knowing what advice is good advice; and you are working on the right things that are going to continue to advance your career.
So, in my opinion - so the way I see it sitting over here, host of this podcast, almost a hundred episodes getting more and more women promoted into the executive suite is that I see promotions are easy. That there is a step-by-step guide to the executive suite. And the reason why promotions are feeling hard for you right now is because you're not focusing on the right things, you're taking bad advice and you don't have a deliberate pathway for your career. So, once you start tackling those things, you're going to see that promotions are quite easy, that opportunities are absolutely going to start coming your way and you're going to be moving closer to your long-term goals of being in the C-Suite and really making that impact at your organization that you want to be making.
You are going to be changing your organization from the C-Suite out. I am so excited to lead you through this process. I can't wait for my book to come out so that you can all read it and go through this process and understand exactly what you need to do to set yourself up for that executive level position. If you're not already - go to StacyMayer.com/Book and sign up for my email list. I'm going to be giving updates about the book throughout the whole month. And I'll also have specials for you at the end of the month when we get closer to November 30th so that you can actually save some money, get extra goodies from me along the way. And really, I just want you to spread this message far and wide and share it with all of your friends so that we can get more diversity at the leadership table - and really start making impacts at our organization right now. Thank you so much for listening, and I'll see you next week. Bye.