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!
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
- Introducing yourself. Avoid the tendency to limit yourself to people you already know.
- Remembering people’s names.
- Asking questions. Use simple questions to engage new colleagues and higher ups. Lean into their expertise and experience.
#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.
- Let people off the hook. “You may need some time to think about this.”
- Take notes.
- 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?
I don’t know that I’ve ever given this thought, but after reading it, I think it applies to any new job, position, or responsibility. Thank you!
Thanks Susan. One of the questions I ask leaders, even if they haven’t been promoted, is what did they see in you when they hired you? It’s useful to know what others see in us.
Meet with customers and get their feedback.
What do they like about the products and services your group produces. What could your group do better?
I also like meeting with the boss and getting his/her expectations.
Meet with a few of your peers and see if they have any advice or guidance for you.
Learn one unique think about each of your team members.
Keep a good balance between “task focus” and “people-focus.”
Thanks Paul. So useful. “Learn one unique thing about each of your team members.” That requires paying attention. Good plan.
Dan in my first real leadership role as CFO of a private company the key to any success I had was my old Boss and mentor, George, who took me to most meetings and introduced me to critical inside and outside people long before the transition.
Thanks Brad. Sounds like navigating a promotion begins before you get it.
Peter Drucker said something like “a person who’s done their job well, even very well, has not earned a promotion, they’ve earned a raise.” In forty years of leadership, I’ve seen too many people promoted to a leadership role who should have earned a nice raise instead. Sometimes these have ended up hurting the employer as well as the employee.
Thanks Greg. You remind me of the Peter Principle. People get promoted to their level of incompetence. Sad but too often it’s true.
Does doing a current job competently mean that someone should be able to do a different job competently as well? It takes time to learn new skills, but if you are not given the tools to create the competence for the new position, that person will not flourish and it will look like a failure to those around that position.
When promoted, remember that you are learning a new role (D1) and need support and direction. Be vulnerable with those supporting you and ask for help.
It seems to me that such cars are not very economical and consume a lot of fuel. Much better to have an electric car. It is more economical and you still need a charger and electricity to charge it.