Imagine that you’re out for lunch with your boss when he or she decides to share the big news: a position’s opened up. A huge promotion.
And you’re on the shortlist.
Immediately after the elation of this moment come the doubts: who else is up for it? Will they really go with an internal hire versus someone flashy and new? Rather than succumb to doubt, I recommend a different approach.
Specifically, action designed to set the stage for you landing this promotion. In his landmark book Pre-Suasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini shares example after example of seemingly innocuous set-ups, right before an offer is proposed, which prove to be devastatingly effective in getting a “Yes” out of people. You can do the same.
Action #1: Update Your Boss On a Monthly Basis with What You’ve Accomplished.
This doesn’t have to be a formal recounting of affairs- far from it! Just have a calendar reminder set up for a particular day, and be sure to write a few lines offering a breakdown of what you’ve done. Here’s a simple formula and template you can use:
INTRO + I/My Team has accomplished X on Initiative Y by doing the following, [DESCRIBE ACTIONS]
I/We now have our sights set on GOAL and will keep you apprised of what’s going on as we move towards it.
You can even insert this update at the tail end of a “regular” email. Doing it consistently, on a month-to-month basis is what’s important. This way there’s NO DOUBT that your boss knows exactly how much you’ve made happen through your actions- a huge plus going into promotion time.
Action #2: Create As Many Internal Relationships Outside of Your Division As Possible.
Now is the time to stretch beyond your comfort zone when it comes to things like connecting with new people at the company. Reach out to the head of that division that does interesting work…but which you have no direct connection to. This kind of cross-pollination is going to help you in the long-term, certainly, but what’s awesome is that it’ll help you with this promotion, too.
When people are deciding on the right candidate for an open position, it’s amazing how far-flung the decision-makers can be. With a heightened profile within the company and the kind of goodwill that comes from someone who’s reached out a hand in the right way (expert tip: ask questions and build rapport above all else), you’re going to have a powerful leg up on this thing.
Action #3: Get Other Offers on the Table.
“What? How disloyal!” you may be thinking. But hear me out.
If you’re up for a big promotion, that also probably means you’ve been at this company for several years. And the longer you’ve been at a company, the more likely it is that you’re caught in its bubble.
This promotion…would landing it be a lucky break in terms of seniority or scope…or pretty much in-line with what you could get at another company?
The compensation…is it truly FAIR when compared with what people in identical roles are being paid…or unfairly low because they think an internal candidate will accept it?
You’re not going to be able to answer these questions without getting a few other offers on the table. Achieve the latter, and you all-but guarantee a promotion…or at the very least a new adventure to embark upon with head held high.
Look at it this way: if you’re already executing Action #2, why not spend a little time expanding it beyond your company pool? Trust me: the water’s fine!