If you’re part of an organization, then it can often be very frustrating to work hard, to be smart and creative, to give your best everyday but yet never get promoted or recognized in equal measure with your true and just value. Even worse, to witness some incompetent people doing “PR” all day long instead of doing anything productive and seeing that they still manage to climb up the ladder with no problem. If your organization is your primary source of income and power, then it is time for you to address that situation.
In case of many organisations the best way to the top is to be part of the club. What I mean is to be part of the boss’ family, to have studied at the same school, to be a valuable member of the same country club, etc… But if it’s not the case, you will have to climb up the hard way.
I can already hear the complaint of how it’s so unfair! Yes, it’s unfair, and it will never change unless you do something about it. The thing is that it’s not about being fair, it’s about being the right person or doing the right thing, and sometimes doing the right thing is not doing the right thing, which can be baffling for some.
But I have good news for you. There are 3 simple rules you can follow to move up the hierarchy in any kind of organization.
Rule # 1: Deliver the goods.
This first rule is to build a strong foundation for your long term success within the organisation. Even if it’s not going to be enough to get you promoted to the next level, it is essential.
You need to produce results that bring real values and results that make the “business” better.
If your organisation doesn’t have a good return on its investment in you, you are going to get fired or be given shitty jobs. In this case, the logic dictates that any organisation will eventually get rid of its dead weight.
If your organisation gets a spot-on return on its investments in you, you are going to keep the same job forever. You may do what you are asked for just fine in one area, which only compels them to never move you up from there because you are a valuable investment. They need you just there, where you are. It’s perfect … for them!
If your organisation gets a bigger-than-expected return on its investment in you, the chances are they will eventually want to invest more in you in order to get more from you. That’s the way to go. You need to find a way, in your current position, to optimise the business with the end goal of making it more profitable!
This one seems to be a no-brainer for most of us, but it will only work if you follow rule #2.
Rule # 2: Be highly visible.
Majority of people are getting this rule terribly wrong. If your contribution is invisible, it has no value at all, and eventually someone else is going to find a way to take credit for your good work.
First, focus on things that are more visible, and then make the results shine! You have to do some marketing, some sort of publicity stunt, or otherwise nobody will know how great your work is/has been.
Working to improve something that has great visibility but no importance will benefit you way better than working on something with low visibility and great importance. That is where some great guys get screwed! They focus on very important stuff because they think it is the “right” thing to do but nobody understands or knows anything about it!
Of course, the pinnacle of rule #2 is to improve something of great importance with great visibility and make it sparkle and flash a lot with a well-planned publicity stunt.
That can certainly make you a superstar but if you don’t follow rule # 3, it will probably not lead you anywhere higher!
Rule # 3: Be very friendly.
Humans are social beings and at the end it’s all about who has made friends with whom. You need to create relationships with key people everywhere in your organisation, especially with people that are situated 1-2 levels higher than you.
You can do them a favour by helping them make their work look better. Use your network of friends to help them with a problem, and then demonstrate with action that you and him can make good shit happen!
You need to invest some time and effort in those relationships and you might also have to suck up a little. You need to be sure that they believe you’re a good asset to them and not a threat. If you try impressing them too strong, they will think they could end up in your shade if you ever climb at their level. You need to make them feel superior to you at all times. Be a good follower to those above you and a good leader to those under. Be sure to not mix both.
The more friends you have that can be trusted, the more likely it is that they will continue working with you, and in turn, this could give you access to more options and power than ever before.
Bottom line is: if your deliver the goods with high visibility, it’s only a matter of convincing a friend who’s up the food chain that it would be awesome and mutually beneficial, once the details have been worked out in a careful and professional manner, to work together, side by side.
When the subject of promoting gets to the table of the big boss, he is going to consult with the opinion of the people around him, and this is why you need to have more people who agree than people who do not.
So, it’s also a number game. The more friends you have, the better your chances are at winning.
It’s up to you to allocate your energy to activities that will bring you more power instead of just complying with the rules and just following blindly what the boss says. If you don’t like this kind of game plan, then organizational life might not be meant for you! In that case, you might want to start looking towards entrepreneurship.
“Research has found that in most companies managers who get promoted rapidly spend most of their time networking and politicking, while their more effective colleagues spent their time building their units and developing their people.” ― Alan G. Robinson
On this, if you want to get deeper into the careerist mindset, have more information on the subject to fix this area of your life once for all, I have to 2 recommendations for you. Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why, Second Edition: 12 Things You’d Better Do If You Want to Get Ahead by Donald Asher and Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work by Marie McInture are 2 great book on the subject. With only 1 or those 2 books in hand you will definitively be equipped to craft a great plan of action in order to put your career on the right track! It’s a good investment if you plan working for someone else all your life!
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