How To Work Out Your Promotion In Any Economy


In every organisation, there are usually two sets of people; the business person and the slot filler.

A business person is an intrapreneur who will go to any length to get the job done fast and well. They take whatever initiative the business requires and create jobs more than is contained in their job descriptions handed down to them by their employer. A slot filler would try to do just what he has been asked to do.

The difference between a business person and a slot filler is in their value proposition and the effort put behind it and this is what determines their progress in the organisation. A business minded individual helps the organisation to achieve its goals; hence the individual’s aims too are achieved.

Anyone that desires a promotion even in the face of recession must be business minded. Such individual must be seen as a force to reckon with bearing in mind the achievement of the organisation. An executive director in a bank once said in a gathering where I was present “anyone that would be promoted must tell us what value s/he has added to deserve that”.

This is actually a reality and it is a contrarian to previous positions of certain organisations. In such organisations, promotion was determined by the number of years you have spent on a particular grade irrespective of the value added. It is unfortunate that many employees in this current dispensation still have this mindset and they get disgruntled when the promotion is not forthcoming after spending a number of years on a particular grade.

Anyone that would get promoted must be able to interpret the dream of the organisation and also provide practicable ways of achieving it. If you understand the vision of your organisation and you are able to align your job roles to how it can be achieved, you position yourself for another level of challenge with a commensurate compensation. Are you an accountant or a human resource executive for instance? How do you align your job roles with the mission statement of your organisation? Are you just there to fill a slot or you understand clearly what your organisation is after and use your job function to help achieve it?

Joseph interpreted the dream of Pharaoh and he also provided practical guidelines on how the dream can be implemented. It is a sine qua non that he was the only one suitable to do the job; hence he became the prime minister of Egypt, a non Egyptian.

Daniel also interpreted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, showing what will be of the province of Babylon. Not only was he made the ruler over the province of Babylon, he was also appointed the chief of the governors of the wise men in Babylon.  This only shows how you can position yourself for an extraordinary promotion even in the face of what you would call corporate politicking.

Your ability to identify the elements working against the achievement of the goals of your organisation and use your skills and talents to tackle them places you above all others to be promoted. David came to limelight after resolving the challenge facing his organisation (nation of Israel) when they were about to be acquired by a seemingly more powerful competitor. He became furious at the feeling of fear that was instilled in his organisation by the competitor (Philistines). Although he looked unqualified to handle the job, actually, the CEO (Saul the King) told him he lacked the experience to combat the competitor, David was however able to look back at instances where he had used his skills and talents to resolve similar situations and boldly declared that he was able to handle it.

There is always a reward for anyone who is able to stand out among peers to help his/her organisation overcome its business oppositions. Such individuals are celebrated and elevated. (What about having the daughter of your CEO as a wife?)

Every organisation at every point in time is always having a major challenge that requires a practical solution. Such concern may be to increase market share, to save cost, energy, resources etc. An individual that is able to associate with such concern and provide a solution to it is another candidate for promotion. What is the current concern of your organisation and what role can you play to help them resolve it?

This will no doubt put a demand on you because you cannot achieve this feat by doing ordinary things. You will need to task yourself, go the extra mile to get data, be able to put the data together, develop a network of experts who can provide guidelines, get the buy in of the management of your organisation to be able to come out successfully.

Having a desire to achieve something visible and noteworthy propels you to set your priorities right and work towards them. You will be able to see how your own goal aligns with that of the organisation and be able to develop a system that ensures that you are focussed. Brian Tracy puts it well when he said “I have found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active and show up more often.”

Of equal importance is the need to embrace challenges. Never shy away from them for they help build your skill and knowledge. Any challenge overcome becomes a reference point for tomorrow’s greater challenge. David was able to tackle the competitor because he leveraged the experience and confidence gained from similar previous ask. They also speak for you as a performer when you overcome them and create a path to you because you are seen as a solution provider.

Your drive and tenacity must be infectious. They must be able to push you to achieve clear results and you must be careful not to allow your drive for achievement make you fixated on an idea that will not work.

A candidate for promotion is given to continuous learning. The development of your skills and talents is your responsibility, not of any organisation. Promotion is elusive if you are not known for any good thing in your organisation, if you are not a reference point for solutions in your organisation. You weary yourself and your organisation by depending on residual knowledge. If the axe is dull and the edge is not sharpened, you would require more strength to achieve any milestone if at all. In other words, not sharpening your skills and talents make you struggle to achieve results in your organisation.

Above all, connect to the divine source. Despite your strength and resources, there is a place of recognition of God’s time and chance. The race is neither to the swift nor the battle to the strong, God backs up your preparation and effort by giving you direction and instructing you on what you need to do. David did not fail to recognise God as the source of the opportunities to achieve those feats that gave him the boldness and faith to confront the competitor. In the same way, God orders your steps daily on activities that you will carry out that add up to your great achievement for no man knows his own time.

•Akindele Afolabi wrote in from Lagos.

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