Four Ways to Get Ahead in Your Organization
Everyone who rises within an organization does things to please people with power.
Getting ahead within organizations always includes making someone happy.
4 ways to get ahead within organizations:
#1. Seek and listen to input, but don’t be needy.
- Don’t ask, “How am I doing?”
- Seek input that delivers results, not that makes you feel good about yourself.
- Learn new skills, “What do I need to know to get this done?”
- Ask, “How can we make this better?”
- Don’t make excuses when criticized.
#2. Try new things without needing constant affirmation. (See #1.)
- Take charge; stay open.
- Solve problems without making everyone’s life miserable.
- Include people who know more than you. Lone Rangers aren’t leaders.
- Deliver results that matter to others. All results aren’t equal.
- Connect all activities with organizational mission. Working hard to do the “wrong” thing is dumb.
#3. Be an energy giver, not an energy drain.
- Ask yourself, “Am I bringing people down?”
- Avoid behaviors that drain people. Giving energy includes not draining it.
- Celebrate effort, progress, and completion. Don’t wait until the end to celebrate.
- Never gossip, whine, point fingers, or minimize challenges.
- Notice people’s strengths, talents, and success.
#4. Build relationships that deliver results across the organization.
- Don’t just make friends. Help others get things done.
- Receive help when it makes others look good.
- Let others win.
- Connect with rising stars.
- Disagree with power-people in private.
5 “Get ahead” tips:
- Don’t try to get ahead too much. Just do a great job.
- Follow the example of people who are successfully climbing the corporate ladder.
- Move-on when you get passed over. I know some leaders who have gutted it out and succeeded. In general, just move on.
- Make lateral moves that expand capacity and experience.
- Make life easier for people who control advancement.
Do these ideas trouble you? Why?
What could you do today to enhance your career?
…not trouble me. To the contrary they inspire. I wonder whether they work both in small companies and big corporations. I have the feeling they ”are positive” and work out in larger corporations. Thanks Dan. I think I could collaborate more and include others more. After all, lone rangers aren’t leaders as you mentioned 😉
Thanks Dennis. You bring up the opportunity of collaboration and inclusion. It’s an interesting dynamic. On one hand we have to make a mark. On the other, we have to make that difference with others and let them win too. Best for the journey.
Thanks. You too Dan.
yep, some forget the primary objective is to make your boss happy.
Some of ideas DO disturb me,so I’ll answer your why.
2: Those who have climbed the ladder have often done so by using everyone around them as expendable assets they can expend without compunctions or concerns – the complete antithesis of “servant leader”.
4: In very technical areas, lateral moves will count against you: if you’re lucky, you get to be the expert they bring in to fix problems at the edge of the envelope, which is interesting but wears a bit when they put you back once their problem is solved. At worst you get the label “jack of all trades, master of none”.
5: It can be almost impossible to work out who controls advancement.Or rather, you can work out who can BLOCK it (usually a number of people), but there isn’t one person you can rely on to make it happen.
The thing that makes everything hardest is the poorly-defined organisational mission: whether it’s so nebulous as to be almost meaningless, so narrow you can’t show any intiative or just plain two faced, the sort of “We want to be the provider of choice of ethical, customer-driven solutions” on the letterhead and “make money no matter how” in your appraisal trope
These are great!
One thing I hear you saying is – do a great job where your at, and add value to your organization and culture here and now, and results will come from that…rather than seeking to advance yourself at the expense of your organization and others.
Is that a good summary?
Dan, what if rising up the ladder means emulating people whose behaviour you do not respect?
Great post. Only wish I’d had this advice when I was just beginning my career, when I was too stupid to listen to it!
Let’s not forget the type of politics that transpire within the dynamics of organizational process. It’s the way the World turns. Just saying……..
Sorry I’m late to this party.
Making someone happy should first and foremost include yourself.
Don’t stay somewhere that doesn’t make you happy. That goes no matter what level. If you’re unhappy, you should find a place that makes you happy at the level you currently are…and THEN move up.
Donna and Mitch, this is for you, I’m thinking.
Am feeling that in my organization I need to set up a framework (vision) & invite others (all points under 2) to let them fill in framework without me being prescriptive…
And then let the evolving filled in framework(s) help bolster the message of the culture we are fostering ring true…
Our #1 cultural value I am putting weight down on is “making everyone as human to you as possible so we all stay responsive, emphatic & connected” …
Doing this in a very technical software & database heavy consulting space bears out very interesting results 🙂
Thanks for reminding me why it’s so important & why as a leader I can’t expect others to get there first… Leading them to a new place & letting them take it & run with it once they get there with me is enlivening.
Great advice! How is it that oftentimes we forget how to carry ourselves in everyday life or at work? Reading this can offer us an “aha” moment but we forget about these principles when we get caught up in the minutiae of “the” work and not our work environment and the experience as a whole. I’ve printed this out for future reference.
I used to distance myself from “energy vampires” and others while trying to exceed expectations but now I find that I want to incorporate myself into the collective and bring everyone along for a much more rewarding journey!
Here’s wishing the best of everything to you all…