In my latest Forbes Leadership post I shared insights from 3 executives on how to get promoted into the executive ranks:
The strategies seem so straight-forward – collaborate; stay front of mind; develop a differentiating “edge.” But how do you do that exactly? Here are specific steps to take:
To improve your collaboration and expand your relationships:
Use your lunch break
The best way to develop relationships is to break bread with people. Getting to know someone over a meal makes it easier to collaborate later.
Enroll your manager’s support
Let him or her know that you want to meet more people, and ask for their suggestions. The ones who are happy to help will refer you gladly, and the less-supportive ones will at least know your intentions so it won’t look like you’re going over their heads.
Take it outside
Relationships are not only developed at the office. Don’t forget a company softball league or yoga class. You’ll meet people you don’t normally work with.
To stay front of mind since promotion decisions happen quickly:
Set weekly reminders
Let’s face it – you’re not going to remember to network with people outside your immediate area (or even in your immediate area). Set a reminder on your calendar to prompt you automatically. When it comes up, you have to reach out to 1, 3, 5 people, whatever you can muster. It forces you to keep relationship management front of mind.
Send regular updates to your boss in-between official reviews
People are busy. Your boss can’t keep track of everything you’re doing. If you wait till the year-end review, you miss out on the other 11 months of the year. A regular update plan also forces you to be mindful that you’re getting regular results.
Update your LinkedIn status
Recommend an interesting article you’ve read (that happens to be related to what you do professionally). Celebrate the completion of a project – “excited to be more than halfway to our fundraising goal and still 8 months to go!” Mention a conference or event you’ll be attending, and maybe someone from your extended network will let you know they’ll be there too.
To develop a differentiating edge:
Make a leadership role
You don’t have to wait for a promotion. Promote yourself by volunteering to put together a panel for your professional association or alma mater. This gives you official cover to research a topic of interest and network with people of interest.
You don’t have to start a blog (but you could). You can guest post on an existing one, or write an insightful and engaging comment. You can post for your professional association or alma mater. You can help your journalist friends on one of their pieces.
Find your go-to superpower and nurture it
When I did executive reference checks, one of my favorite questions was, “What is [insert your name here] the go-to person for?” Well, what are you the go-to person for? What is the thing you do that makes people wonder how you do it? Everyone has one of these, and if you don’t know what yours is, ask your colleagues, current and former, what your key strengths are. You’ll see a pattern and will now know what to highlight.
Which one of these 9 suggestions will you try? Don’t just read what executives say on how to get promoted into the executive ranks. Pick one or more and implement today.