Step 1- Just Say No!
There ya go…. Numero uno right out of the gate! How many times have you heard a leader ask a good question – meaning the real answer is painful for the business, not what people want to hear, or all of the above – and after a short pause, someone says, “yes.”? Don’t be that person. Step up with the real answer. CEOs are paid the big bucks to drive business, solve problems and take calculated risks. Join them.
Step 2- Dress the Part
I work for an amazing company that inspires collaboration, delivers innovation and has a relaxed culture – you pretty much wear what you like. Now if everyone is wearing tee shirts and shorts, I am not saying suit-up every day- I am saying step it up. Here is the surprise - it’s not to impress them, it is for your benefit. It’s like getting ready for a big date, after the finishing touch is applied, you look in the mirror, stand a little taller and give yourself a silent “nice.” That’s confidence. Dress the part and you will exude self-confidence that leadership will notice.
Step 3- Be Seen
Okay, yes – I am talking about the holiday party. But not the, “oops, so-and-so had a few too many” kind of holiday party. This is about opportunity parties - the picnic, company celebrations/ events/dinners, etc., that are social in nature. Leverage what you have in common. Work into smart conversations with folks that are above you on the org chart. Use the time to learn what motivates them and bank that knowledge for when your paths cross professionally.
Step 4- Work First
Work first. We’ve all been there, you walk into the manager’s office, see the trophy (or signed football, or picture with a celebrity, etc.) and what’s the first thing we say? Something dumb. It’s natural, we are merely trying to relax. But really, it only cuts into your one-on-one time and delays your manager from getting what they need – your information. So skip the chit chat. Nothing will relax you more than getting right into the content that you prepared, studied and practiced. And after you nail it, the CEO might just give you a moment or two of informal time.
Step 5- Say Yes!
Say yes. What? I know, I know, Step 1 was say no. But now I mean say yes to any and all internal opportunities that can leverage your knowledge and interests to expand your reach within the company. Ask your direct leader if there are projects that can use your contribution. You will meet new people, work with new departments/business units and the exposure will make you a known entity. And you might just make the company better.
Get That Promotion!
Do all 5 steps and you are on promotion road! Seriously, what these all have in common is that they provide leadership with confidence in YOU. Start small, pick one or two, get out of our comfort zone and have some fun – it is infectious.
Stay tuned for my next blog where we will share thoughts on how to know you are on – or off? - the right track.
Questions for Jim? You can connect with him on Twitter @jamesln3 and LinkedIn.