Everyone’s experience on the job is different, but, in general, careers tend to progress along a common path: As people master a skill, they move ahead. Here’s how each promotion tends to progress:
- First promotion: Technical skills. You get your first promotion as a result of your demonstrated execution of a specific job.
- Second promotion: Interpersonal skills. You get your second promotion as a result of your ability to build and manage a team.
- Third promotion: Strategic thinking. You get your third promotion as a result of your ability to think strategically, look beyond the current tasks and guide your team to the future.
- Fourth promotion: Risk tolerance. You get your fourth promotion based on your willingness to take the risks necessary to accomplish your goals.
Where are you in this progression of skills that lead to promotion? More important, how does where you are compare to where you want to be?
If you want to work your way up the ladder, consider concentrating on these actions:
- Demonstrate success through your technical skills.
- Invest in relationships.
- Help others achieve their goals.
- Lead projects; lead people.
- Discipline yourself to carve out the time needed to set (or correct) a strategic vision.
- Find that “thing” that your company needs to do to make its future better.
- Work toward obtaining the skill(s) needed to accomplish that “thing.” Tackling this goal will most likely take you out of your comfort zone.
- Get over yourself and finally take that risk.
Here’s your fuel for thought: Which of these actions could you take right now? I bet if you work toward mastering one or all of them, you’ll move ahead on your career path.