GETTING a promotion is like committing a murder. You have to have the opportunity, the motive and the means to get it. Just ask anyone who loves to watch a good thriller. The prime suspect is usually pinned down with these three questions. Did he have the opportunity to commit the crime? Did he have the motive to do it? And did he have the means to do it?
The chances of promotion are determined by these same factors. Do you have the opportunity for promotion (or are there positions that need to be filled or created)? Do you have the motivation to get promoted (do you have the will to succeed in your career)? And do you have the means to get promoted (do you have the competencies required for the position you are eyeing)?
I discovered that formula in my twenty years of practicing human resources management, where I served on the promotions board of various companies.
Assess your chances for promotion, your environment and yourself based on these three factors, and determine your potential for promotion or “promotion quotient (PQ).”
Factor 1: Opportunity
Find out if your company has room for you to grow. The smaller the company, the smaller your chances for promotion—especially if your immediate bosses are the ones who put up the business in the first place.
On the other hand, if your company has a well-structured hierarchy, each resignation is a chance for you to climb one step up the ladder. This is also true if your company is expanding its business by opening new offices or entering new markets.
If you are working for a company that will not provide you opportunities for growth, scout around for one that will. Staying in and resenting a company that does not allow you to grow is a disservice to both you and the company.
If you do get a job offer, assess whether or not the new company can promise a higher position and better benefits. If you’ll be stuck with the same level or compensation package, you’re only making a lateral transfer.
This might not be worth giving up your old job. The only exception is if the new company can provide you with the experience you need for a higher level position.
Factor 2: Motivation
Determine whether you really want to succeed in your career. If you are serious in your career goals, then you will do whatever it takes, within ethical limits, to succeed.
Some people wish to be promoted. But they are not willing to put in the effort to train themselves; show that they can perform; be there for the company, the team and their bosses when they are most needed; or prove that they can be team players and work well with others. Some are not willing to read a book to sharpen their thinking. Some are not willing to leave their houses a little earlier to make sure they are on time at the office all the time. Some might even be subconsciously afraid of the added responsibility that a promotion will bring.
In these cases, your wish for a promotion will not be granted. On the other hand, if you really desire a promotion, then, barring dirty tricks, you will do everything to deserve the promotion. Then, promotion becomes a “gift” which your employer will willingly give you and not a “right” that must be demanded.
Factor 3: Means
Some people think that if they just do well in their jobs, sooner or later, they deserve to get promoted. This is a mistaken belief. Doing well in your existing job is a prerequisite to promotion; it is not a guarantee for promotion.
If you do well in your job, it just means one thing—you have the competencies (the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and habits) needed to do the job well. But a higher level position requires a different set of competencies, some of which may similar to your present position and many of which are not. For you to be promoted, you have to show that you have the competencies needed for the higher position.
When you enter a company, you usually start at the bottom rung of the organizational ladder. From there, you climb higher based on your technical skills or skills required by your specific area of expertise. However, technical skills will only get you up a certain level in the organizational ladder. On the uppermost rungs, managerial and leadership skills are needed.
In addition, attitude is as important as aptitude at all levels in the organization. You will not get to a higher level position, much less be retained by your company, if you do not have a positive attitude towards work, your colleagues and the company. A striving for excellence, integrity and passion for work are also some core values that companies usually look for in people they nurture in the organization.
These competencies, aside from others more specific to the position, are the means needed to perform in the higher level position. You have to acquire and demonstrate these competencies so your bosses know you have improved your “promotion quotient” or PQ.
How do you do this? First, identify what are the competencies needed in the position that you are aspiring for. Then, assess whether or not you already have and are using these competencies. If you do not have the required competency, take steps to acquire these competencies through training, reading and practice. This means going “out of the box” of your job description and taking on new tasks and responsibilities in the organization where your abilities can shine. Whether or not you are paid for this additional work, it is a good chance to show your PQ.
Your chances for promotion depend on how well you increase your “promotion quotient.” After taking an honest look at your existing PQ, take the necessary steps so that you have the right opportunity, the motivation and the means to achieve your career goals. With a higher PQ, you can become the most likely “suspect” for promotion.
Author: Regina Galang Reyes. Published in Metro Working Mom August 2002.
Photo credit: www.sxc.hu