Not all promotions are linear. The next role might be obvious and organizations move in that direction naturally. Loads of obstacles can arise. Some bosses don’t readily promote from within. Lack of turnover can repress movement, and often the lackluster are the ones who are willing to hang around. Then THEY end up in positions of authority and you really get sclerosis.
If you exhibit great attitude and a really strong work ethic you have the foundation to take a universal look at your employer and the variety of disciplines available. Just because you’re in operations doesn’t mean you can’t be in marketing. Working in Accounts Receivable doesn’t suggest that you cannot apply your skill set in purchasing.
I did not understand the potential within my own enterprise for many years. I truly was an idiot when I was 21 and working at Mobil Oil’s international headquarters out of college. I had a dull meaningless role and the rest of the place felt like a bunch of VP’s. It seemed so distant. If I had amped up the work ethic, the attitude, and believed in myself, paths would have emerged. I know that now.
I think my career has turned out well yet I occasionally wonder what my arc would have been if I’d been more focused, understood the opportunities within reach. Yet they were only in reach if I stretched. And I did not stretch.
When you look in your company, don’t limit yourself. The critical requirement is that you know the skill set necessary for any target job. The best way to assess that is to directly approach leadership in that discipline. Request an appointment. You will get it. Ask frankly what skill sets you would need to be perceived internally as a candidate for future openings.
Keep high-quality notes from that feedback and outline what you are told. That feedback might range from interpersonal skills to diction to vocabulary to education requirements to knowledge of software and codes. Professional certification might loom. Yet loom is not really the right word, because growth is an opportunity.
If you need to get the street out of your storefront, then do it. Poise and polish are great attributes. You can do better.
Write plans to do exactly what your notes capture from the appointment.
That is, if you still have interest in that target department and believe in yourself. Belief in yourself is the most important skill of all. It is the soul of attitude.
However you time manage, and you must time manage, you need to feather the entire plan into your future. Time management is the act of controlling events. Time managing this list means you honor your calendar. You make your plan concise, measurable and focused. Then honor that calendar.
At some point- have an internal sense of when you are becoming a pest- visit that initial leader and ask for feedback on your plan. Share that you intend to pursue this plan vigorously and ask to be updated with additional observations that might arise. Let him know you do not want to be off-track in your development.
Success will always be predicated on the three legs of our stool: work ethic, attitude, and intelligence. We don’t have control of our own intellectual fire power but we sure do control the level of information we take in. Intelligence has a brother and that brother is informed. Exhibit a major league work ethic, a great attitude, and stay informed.
Work that plan. Finagle a way to shadow someone in that department and for goodness sake don’t ask to be paid for it. Do it on your own time. Words without deeds typically have a short half-life. You need to demonstrate desire. If that department sees you chasing it, you’ll appeal. They will naturally embrace.
If you listen. If you try to learn.
Two ears, one mouth.
Then you will be embraced.
If the promotion you seek is a more traditional interdisciplinary move, then just BE that new role. Dress for success. Start paying attention to the metrics for that job. How is that role measured? Get comfortable with that measurement. Affect it now as much as you can from your current chair. Make it your language. Remember, the language of finance is the language of business.
If no one is sharing your department’s measured performance then ask about it. People are talking about it and you are not in the game.
Get in the game. Winners want the ball.