Many executives are under the impression that a promotion is a reward for past performance. This is actually not true. Executives get promoted based on future potential, not past performance. And while your past performance certainly offers a good indication of how you may perform in the future, promotion decisions are based on a number of other factors as well.
If you want to get promoted, don’t underestimate the power of one simple, and often overlooked, strategy. Tell your manager and leadership team what you want to do next. Don’t assume that they know you want to advance your career and are just waiting for the right time to tap you on the shoulder. You need to clearly and strategically communicate your career goals.
Because you’re a strong performer and a valuable member of the team, it may be difficult for your manager to let you go. Finding a successor and getting him/her up to speed can be very disruptive, not to mention the fact that it may be quite some time before that individual is operating at your level. If you’re not asking for your next opportunity, it’s much easier for your manager to maintain the status quo.
Additionally, if you aren’t proactively communicating your career goals, your leadership team may not recognize your commitment to career advancement. Leaders value initiative and drive. If you want a promotion, begin the dialogue with your manager. Discuss with him/her what you need to do to best prepare for your next opportunity. And then develop a plan to meet those goals.
It may take time for an opportunity to become available, or for you to transition your responsibilities to your replacement. Therefore, it makes sense to discuss your career goals well in advance of your target timeframe. You should expect to have ongoing discussions with your manager, not just one point-in-time conversation, so you want to slowly and strategically open the lines of communication.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget that career success doesn’t happen to you. To achieve greater levels of executive career success, you need to drive your own career. Nobody else can do this for you. If you want to get promoted, start the conversation with your manager now!