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Are you really
promotion material?

Fill in this short survey to find out:

  • 1. Have you requested a promotion in the last year?
  • 2. Have you ever been rejected for a promotion?
  • 3. Have you ever been offered a promotion?
  • 4. Has a co-worker at the same level ever been promoted instead of you?
  • 5. Has there ever been a position you applied for and didn’t get?
  • 6. Are you hesitant about asking for a promotion for fear of your boss’s response?
  • 7. Have you ever left an organization because you were passed up for promotion there?
  • 8. Do you know if your work environment values you and your work?
  • 9. Do you think that you deserve a promotion?
  • 10. Do you promote your work and yourself at work?
Get your results directly to your email:
** Please answer all questions **

Promotion seekers: never assume this

Among middle managers, there’s a common misconception that getting a promotion at your company is easier than landing the same position at another company. And if you’ve got a good resume for internal promotion,  you’re a shoo in, right? Wrong. And to add a little fuel to the fire, based on my 35+ years of experience, you’re actually at a disadvantage.


Sounds surprising? Read on.


Imagine that you’re applying for the position from outside your company. As a successful professional, you’d do your best to prepare for the interview, including your resume for internal promotion. You’d read up on the company, check out its website and search for articles about its history and current performance. You’d check out your social networking contacts to see if you know anyone working there who could give you some further insight. You’d also update yourself on the industry in general. In short, you’d do enough background work to write a report that would put the best of investment analysts to shame.


Now, honestly answer this question: would you do the exact same thing before an interview in your own company. We both know your answer. So while you’re sure that your track record so far will get you the promotion, your competition can also in-depth knowledge of your company and its environment. Now, who would you choose?


Let’s say you don’t agree with me and insist your performance has been so stellar that management would be foolish not to promote you. I’ll give you even more credit than that. Maybe you’re a sales manager who’s outsold everyone else for the past three years. Naturally, everyone in the company knows you’re a star. In fact, they know everything about you: the good, the bad, and the ugly. You see, when you apply for a promotion, your good points are of course known and recognized, but so are your less desirable traits. As ugly as it sounds, office lore and gossip travel fast - horizontally and vertically. You can be sure that the last time you flew off the handle at a client or mucked up an order will be just as prominent on your record as your exceptional sales performance. And for external candidates, getting this kind of “dirt” would take much more effort and probably wouldn’t even surface during the hiring process.


No dirt on you, you claim? All right, I’ll take your word for it. So you’re the dream of every sales department? And you’re record is squeaky clean? That’s bad, too. And here’s the reason: why would anyone in their right mind fix something that ain’t broke? If you’re bringing in tons of business, why would your company want to change this? And what guarantee does your company have that you’d be a good senior manager anyway? There are plenty of slightly less competent sales managers who can be groomed into senior managementhood. So you’ll just be kept where you are - generating lots of income for your company.


Does all of this mean that if a great promotion opportunity comes along, you shouldn’t bother applying? Absolutely not. But don’t assume you’ve got it in the bag. Instead, my advice to you is to treat any promotion opportunity as if you were an external candidate.


Do the research required to understand the industry, the company, and the department. Find out any negative flack about you by asking co-workers what they honestly think about you...and then be ready with your side. And finally, don’t wait for your company to take responsibility for developing you into a manager. Read professional material, attend seminars, meet with a consultant. Yes, just like an external candidate, you have to prove to your own organization that you are indeed senior management material.


Prepare yourself today for the promotion opportunities of tomorrow, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself on your way to that coveted corner office.


And always remember:


Great managers are made. Not born.

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