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“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

-Eric Thomas

If you’re like most people, you’d rather climb the ladder than to remain idle in your career. Naturally, we all strive for more in life. Think back to your days on the playground, did you ever play “king of the mountain?” Like I said, it’s instinctual. So as you plan to climb the ladder, hopefully, these tips will fast track your progress.

Build higher level relationships

You’ve heard the saying, “It’ not what you know, it’s who you know.” Though it may be hard to swallow, it’s true. Your brilliance could be palpable, but without the right connections, your climb may be sluggish.

To build stronger relationships, think of yourself as a brand. Brands market themselves right? The essence of marketing is promoting until familiarity is achieved. And familiarity deepens relationships. So how do you market yourself to build stronger relationships? Especially with your manager and above?

Here are some tips:
  • Reply to emails from higher level managers. Even if they are mass emails, thank them for their communication and/or provide relatable insights.
  • Ask a thoughtful question to higher level managers with some degree of regularity. Your question is not, “where are you from,” “what sports team do you like,” or any categorical small talk. You are seeking helpful advice, which communicates your interest in climbing. Examples include: “How did you get to be (insert title here)?” “For my own growth, may I ask what your toughest lesson was at (insert company here)?” “If you were me, eager to climb the ladder, what would you suggest I do?”
  • Always keep your word. Think about people in your life you have strong connections with – do they keep their word? Be the person who keeps their word at all cost.

Do more than what you’re paid

Napoleon Hill once said, “The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.” In my own career, adopting this principle fast tracked my growth. Let me warn you though, patience is key, and entitlement can derail you.

Adopting this principle means committing to patience. Otherwise, don’t adopt and leave “going above and beyond” to someone else. Also, you may begin to feel entitled when increasing your level of output. Resist this like it’s the plague. From a manager’s standpoint, entitled employees are maddening to employ. When you begin to feel entitled to a higher level position, remind yourself of your commitment to patience.

Adopt the mantra, “What interests my boss fascinates me”

A dear friend introduced me to this gem when I was perpetually focused on the wrong things. Whether you agree or not, your manager is obligated to drive specific results. Though the entire picture may be blurry, believe me, it exists. Therefore, keep your focus aligned with your managers. Eventually, you will ‘see what they see.’ And when you do, it means you’re developing the right focus for that level.

Find a problem to solve

Every step in your career requires improved problem-solving capabilities. When you demonstrate problem-solving, you demonstrate growth potential.

In relation to finding problems, it’s not any problem, but rather operational problems. Steer clear of personnel issues, leave those for your manager. Scan for operational problems where solutions can drive financial performance. Once you find the problem, conjure up a solution, but follow the guidelines below.

  • Don’t bypass your direct line manager with your proposed solution. You may diminish, or destroy, any trust built in your relationship.
  • Don’t officially solve the problem without consent. Your solution could adversely impact other areas, so be sure to present your case first.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your solution isn’t implemented. Persist in your pursuit, and resist the temptation to give up early. Eventually, something will stick.

Final thoughts

Brian Tracey said, “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your self-development.” Getting promoted is achievable, but means committing to developing yourself to be “worthwhile.”

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and I’d love to hear your thoughts below!