The three benefits of advancing your career in a flat organization (and how to leverage them)

Scaling your career in a flat organization may seem a bit…unclear.

The next rung on the ladder isn’t always obvious. In fact, there may not be another rung at all.


The steps you need to take are essentially the same as a hierarchical structure. They even come with a few unique benefits.

My name is Stacy Mayer and I’m on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting a thousand managers promoted into senior executive level leadership positions each year – worldwide. I do this by coaching corporate managers on the exact steps they need to take to get promoted into these positions.

So, what are the three benefits of advancing your career in a flat organization and how can you leverage them so YOU can advance to a higher level leadership position?

Here’s how:

Unique Benefit #1: The end result isn’t obvious

Let me explain.

Many leaders in hierarchical organizations get stuck by thinking that the next step in their career is obvious. It’s simply the next level up.

So, if they want their boss’s job but their boss isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, many will simply remain in their position until their boss gets promoted or retires.

When you work in a flat organization, you’re forced to think about ALL the possibilities.

So, how do you leverage this?

As the old cliche goes: you focus on the journey, not the destination.

When you’re in a flat organization, the first thing you want to do is define your milestones of growth. Because the reality is: there may not be a clear end destination.

What may end up happening, especially if you work for a startup with a smaller executive team, is that you may grow into an executive leadership position that didn’t exist before.

Ask yourself: What growth milestones can I put in place that will prepare me for a higher level leadership position?

Unique Benefit #2: Communication is a given

Communicating your work, goals, and results is an essential part of getting promoted.

In fact, it’s one of the most important steps I teach all of my clients in my Promotion Accelerator 1:1 group coaching program.

But communication can be challenging in a hierarchical organization.

You’re often forced to make a lot of assumptions because things simply don’t get communicated effectively. You’ll know you are supposed to do something because your boss told you to, but you won’t necessarily understand why or even how.

When you’re in a flat organization, OVER communication is a given.

You have the ability to ask questions, share your results, gather resources, and discover what a promotion opportunity may look like for you.

Ask yourself: Am I communicating enough? Do I have mentors? Am I having conversations about my next steps, my goals, and how I think I’m progressing towards those goals?

Unique Benefit #3: It’s easier to leverage your relationships

If I were coaching a manager at a top down structure I would tell them: ‘Don’t forget about your leadership team. Make sure you are managing up so they know what you’re working on.’

But in a flat organization, it’s your peers who are going to rally behind you. THEY are the ones who are going to be responsible for your next promotion.

Ask yourself: Am I building and leveraging my relationships with my coworkers? Do I have strong enough ties in the organization with the leadership team AND my peers?

If you would like more strategies for being promoted to an executive leadership position, I invite you to check out my three-part podcast series: Executive Ahead of Time.

During each episode, I go through exactly what it’s going to take for you to start stepping into that executive role BEFORE you actually get to your end destination.

All three parts are available now. Go to to listen.

PS: If you have a question you’d like me to answer on one of my upcoming Your Promotability Factor Weekly Q&A, direct message me the answer to this question: “If you and I were to have 30-minutes together and you could get my input on anything, what specific questions would you have for me today, this week, this month?”

Please Share This:
You Might Also Like:

How to Build Relationships with C-Suite Leaders (Starting TODAY)

One of the most important executive skills you need to be working on right now is learning how to effectively communicate your work.

How to Get Promoted by Showcasing Your Work (the Right Way)

The biggest differences between acting like an executive leader and actually becoming one is this_

Are You Acting Like An Executive Leader… Or Actually Becoming One?

Leave a Comment