A Promotion is Like a Dog Chasing a Car – Now What

You’re like a dog chasing a car when you earn a promotion. After you catch it, what do you do with it?

You earned a new job, project, or promotion. Now what?

The Joker delivers the “dog chasing cars” line at 45 seconds on this video. Wow!

Now what:

Past performance earned you an opportunity, but it doesn’t guarantee future success.

#1. Three things to master on day one:

“Surprisingly large numbers of professionals do less than their best because they haven’t mastered three basic yet critical getting-to-know-you skills.” HBR

  1. Introducing yourself. Avoid the tendency to limit yourself to people you already know.
  2. Remembering people’s names.
  3. Asking questions. Use simple questions to engage new colleagues and higher ups. Lean into their expertise and experience.
Zipper head.

Imagine a year has passed and I've failed at this new role. Beyond not delivering results, what three things did I leave undone?

#2. Ask about future success:

Ask your new boss a question about future success. Try this one.

“Imagine a year has passed and I’ve failed at this new role. Beyond not delivering results, what three things did I leave undone?”

You could use the above question with the individuals on the hiring committee.


  1. Let people off the hook. “You may need some time to think about this.”
  2. Take notes.
  3. Ask follow up questions.

Note: If the “I’ve failed” question is too uncomfortable, switch it to “I’ve succeeded.” I think the failed question inspires more thought.

#3. Engage in personal reflection:

What did they see in you that caused them to trust you with a new role? Write down five reasons you earned this job.

What personal strengths will serve you well in the next 100 days?

What personal strengths might be a hinderance in the next 100 days?

What 3 new relationships do you need to build in the first 3 months?

You succeeded in the past because of people around you. How will you develop the new team?

What helped you succeed after a promotion?

What do you suggest people do after a promotion? Not do?