In whatever we do, whatever it is, we cannot help but get better at it. It’s just the natural evolution of repeating some activities over and over again. Even if we do not try hard we will eventually get better at it.
In our professional life, this improvement is usually associated with more recognition, different status and, in many cases, financial benefits. Then the famous word Promotion comes into play.
Promotion is the official term given to the jump we do in our professional status to occupy a higher hierarchy, what is correlated to better working conditions, more influence, and more money.
But, as natural as our learning seems, our improvement in what we do does not always translate for us into a promotion; but it may happen for other people around us who, being fair or not, are the ones selected by our management to get access to that higher status, better conditions, and higher pay.
And here it comes, in many situations, the reason for a personal frustration.
If we are the ones who have been looking for a promotion (not everyone does, even getting better and better at what they do), and we do not get it, lots of negative thoughts usually come involuntarily to us. Thoughts pointing out to our lack of
and many more that overwhelm our minds with all sorts of negative opinions about ourselves.
If we persist in this situation, holding all these perceptions about ourselves for any period of time, we start eroding our motivation, self-confidence, and self-image, decreasing our focus on what we do, and sabotaging our skills and courage.
If we happen to go through two or more professional situations like that one, the damage to our self-confidence can be such that it may start impacting other areas of our lives, like the relationships with our partner or our social network.
We may start considering ourselves as ‘failures’ in everything we do.
Nothing farther than the truth!
The origin of that perception is that we consider a professional promotion as something external to us, something that we can get by ‘being lucky’, something for which we have to do many things we are not in agreement to, or it’s not natural to us.
We have heard many times expressions like:
“He got promoted because he …
…always kissed his boss’ ass”
…cared more about the company than about his colleagues”
…plays politics very well”, or
…would tread on anybody who would stand on his way”.
Promoting someone is just the basic consequence of an organization needing someone to occupy a vacant position, and that the selected person is internal to the organization.
If we understand the basics of a promotion and demystify the process, we can avoid going through all that personal frustration and keep focusing on what we can control.
Any promotion is affected by two types of factors: internal to us and external to us.
The external factors are those which we cannot control. We can influence, but not control.
In the case of the process of getting a promotion in an organization, external factors to us can be:
The perception the decision-maker has about us,
The perception the decision-maker has about the person promoted,
The relationship of the decision-maker has with the person promoted,
How critical we are at the position we currently handle,
How critical the person promoted is at the position he currently handles.
We can influence some of these factors but, whatever we do, even trying hard, cannot help us to control them.
And these are the factors we usually look at, whenever we fail to get a promotion we were going after. And these are the exact factors that trigger negative thoughts about ourselves, our personal values or our professional capabilities.
Not realizing that in more cases than we can imagine, there are ‘hidden’ reasons for us not to get promoted; hidden reasons nobody will ‘honestly’ tell us about, and that we will probably never know.
But they are the ‘real’ reasons to promote someone else, and it has nothing to do with our personal values or professional capabilities.
Focus on what we can control.
What can we do then? What should we focus on if we want to grow up in our career path?
Internal factors are the only ones we can control. They depend 100% on our thoughts, behaviors, and actions, regardless of what other people think, do or say.
Being a team player,
Honesty and Integrity,
Being open and loyal, or
Being committed to the company.
The one key focus
But, overall, the most critical factor which will bring us to the top of our organization is our willingness to solve problems. No matter how much we know, no matter how well we behave, the real reason an organization hires us is to solve problems.
And problems are everywhere all the time.
One of the best mentors I had used to say:
”We are here because there are problems;if there would not be problems, we would not be here”
Willing to solve problems is a mindset
Therefore, the sure way to make your way up and get the promotions you deserve is to constantly focus on adding value to the organization; and the most precious value organizations need is having problems solved.
It’s not always easy; you may need to get out of your way, you may need to do a lower task, you may need to stay overtime, you may need to leave your ego home…but, if you focus on solving problems, if you approach any situation with that mindset, you will become the go-to person who will take her own decisions, instead of relying on the external factors.
Focus on what you can control, develop the necessary skills to maximize your value by helping your organization to solve the problems as they will come, and you will achieve whatever you want.