“If you do not know the rules of the game you are playing, then you are in for a shock.”
Have you ever noticed the unfairness of life? Ever seen the most hard working people struggle while some average guys get rewarded even for the things they did not do? You may attribute happiness to karma, but professional success is a worldly game and we must play the game to the best of our abilities.
Why do some people get promoted faster and are in the good books of leadership? I think calling them sycophants will not do you any favour. Yes, there are few people who do get ahead by flattery but they rarely get to the top of the game. It takes a perfect mix of smart strategies to get quicker promotions on the corporate ladder.
Entrepreneurship is the fastest way to be the CEO of a company, but it has its own struggles and carries a high risk of failure too.
Another thing I would like to highlight that giving up on the system and losing hope on your bosses will not help your case. Till the time you are an employee, you must aim for the next promotion. If you ask for promotion you may get it faster than you think. If you never ask, then you will grow organically and slowly within the company. To achieve different results you must do different things.
Thus if you want to conquer a system owned by someone else try the following strategies:
1. Be outcome-oriented
Most of the people at work are pretending to be busy. If you ever ask an employee does he or she have work, the answer will always be a yes. They are afraid that if their manager gets to know that they have free time, then more work will come their way. People who reach the top are always outcome-oriented. They believe in getting things done and are proactive. They never have to be reminded of the deadlines. Nothing pleases a leader more than an employee who does not have to be reminded of what he or she is supposed to do. Identify the top three problems of your boss and do something about it. Your boss will feel compelled to ensure that you get rewarded with what you deserve.
2. Be an indispensable expert
Always try to handle the projects that are very important for your team and organisation. There are always a couple of high-stakes projects going on for any team. Try to get deeply involved in those. Be a jack of all trades but be a master of couple of things. Move valuable your skill for the company, more indispensable you become for them. More indispensable you become for them, faster are your promotions.
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3. Always work for the top three guys
Find out the top three to five people in your company and not just team and try to get on their radar. Build genuine value-based relationship with them as they are not seeking flattery. They already have enough managers around them and they are always looking for potential leaders not just managers. Position and brand yourself as unique. Do not indulge in petty gossips and manage your brand well in front of the key stakeholders. If you are not the smartest or the strongest one, then be the most networked guy.
People always check your ‘godfather’ before they mess up with you. In the corporate jungle make sure that the king knows you and bothers to find out your whereabouts if you go missing or land up in trouble. Find out the top three problems of the top three people and try to present a solution before they even ask you for it. This is the best way to start a relationship with them.
4. Master communication skills
Be a great speaker and an articulate presenter. My years of experience tells me that most of the people who work as employees usually have very poor self-esteem and low level of confidence. I have been blessed with some of good bosses in my life. One thing I learnt by observing them is that you should act and carry yourself like a confident entrepreneur. Confidence in communication is a matter of content and delivery. Know your subject and then learn to talk confidently about it. Sign up for public speaking classes and read everything you must know about your industry.
5. Go the extra mile
Most people believe only working enough to save themselves from getting fired. Few smart people go beyond that and ask themselves what more should they do get the next promotion? By extra mile, I do not mean overstaying in office or longer hours though sometimes it is a good start, I am talking about the extra-mile impact. Do more than what you are paid to do, to get more money than what you were hired for. Never complain and never blame, just work the smart way. While most employees run away from work, you should work towards it. Once you know how to handle everything, your work-life will be even more balanced than those who dodge work.
6. Notice the source of money and be close to it
Always try to be part of the profit centre rather than the cost centres of your company. If you are part of the cost, you will be the first ones to be laid off. However, if you bring in the revenues for the company, you will be the first ones to get promoted. All companies and bosses love the employees who meet their billability or money targets. They get rewarded with bonuses, commissions and faster promotions. If you are in a non-client or back-end role always keep looking for opportunities to make the switch.
7. Find out where is the quick growth
When people are looking for a job, they make a lot of effort to find out which industry is growing so they can join it. However, once they get the job they become complacent, and never bother to find out which teams within their organisation are growing faster than most others. Spot the intra-organisation opportunities and one of the best way to do that is to talk to people from other teams. There is no harm in saying hello to a colleague from other team, you might just get some valuable information from them once a while. I always ask the two questions: “What projects are you working on?” and “What new is happening in your team? These two questions have given me so much valuable information that helped me in making smart moves.
Success does not come to those who need it. It comes to those who are ready for it. Preparation is the best invite you can send to the guest called success.