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by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Professional DevelopmentTagged as: ,

Almost everyone dreams of getting that big promotion, yet for most people the goal is elusive, and infrequently occurring. So what is the secret of getting the bigger chair, corner office, and higher salary?

The big secret is that there is no big secret. When someone is promoted, “everyone” thinks they know the reason: luck, strong relationship with the boss, right place at the right time, and so on. We are also led to believe that hard work and long hours will make it happen. In some organizations, and for some people, these factors all play a role, but let me suggest that there is something else going on.

The first time I was promoted into the management ranks, I asked my boss why he promoted me. His answer? “I promoted you to a manager because you are already a manager.” When I looked around, I realized that the scope of my responsibilities were very much the same as the managers around me.

If you are looking for a promotion, or at least some recognition, the key is to look around: who is modeling the behavior of the next level up? How have those who’ve recently been promoted stepped up to the plate, and can you do likewise?

Self-promotion doesn’t mean bragging or tooting your own horn. And it certainly doesn’t mean politics. Self-promotion means spending the time to model yourself at the next level, and then deliver at that level, before you actually are one. The fastest way to getting that promotion is self-promotion – but of a decidedly different kind!


Take stock of how you are modelling yourself: at your level, above your level, or below your level.  Then identify precisely the attributes of the next level up that you will start doing.  And stop modelling the behavior of those below you.

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