Fellow Sirens, I’m going to keep this simple. What I’ve learned in my time in corporate world (and the tools here apply to retail world also) is that the best way to get promoted is :
1. Work hard
Yes it’s a no brainer but try to love what you do and do it well. The best work you do, whether you showcase it or not, will eventually come to the fold.
2. Promote Your Work
Listen Sirens, I know people who haven’t done anything about Step 1 and have managed to get promoted because they promote themselves. Everyone knows them. How annoying. But what can we learn from these people? Well if they can do it with very little foundation, what’s stopping you stylish chic? Nothing. Any good work you do, summarise it in 4 slides (why, what, results it will drive, when it goes live) and get yourself a slot in the management meeting to showcase it. Or Directors meeting and if you’re nowhere near this level, your team meeting. If it’s a retail environment, use your weekly meetings to add your tuppence work about why you think this change/promotion will help the business. HONESTLY BELIEVE ME a manager loves nothing more than a hard worker with good ideas to make them look good.
3. Help your Manager do their Job well
So Sirens, if your manager is a good bloke/fellow siren and ambitious, he/she will want to move up the ladder also. That will leave his / her role up for grabs so the best way you can place yourself in this position is by helping your manager as much as you can in your current role. It might be providing a one slide update (in an office situation) each week so they know your area is under control, to asking for more project work to help them out. Even asking is a seen as a positive. Note to yourself though, if you do the project, do it really well. Stay late, look outside what you know and talk to people you don’t normally talk to to get it done, like FINANCE, it’s always good to have a few allies in finance. If it’s a retail environment, call other shop managers/workers and ask them how they approached certain issues. By looking outside your proximity and using other peoples expeirences, you’re showing your thinking on a different level. This works.
4. Network your little toosh off
Now this one comes naturally to even me, but I’m telling you chicks, I could have done it much better. You think you’re good but you can ALWAYS be better. Get to know your stakeholders well. If its that guy in sales who makes your skin crawl, just do it. Go for coffee with the finance bird, go for lunch with the operations guy. All professional mini meetings. Get to know them a little on the social side but keep it business. Tell them upfront you thought it would be useful to get better aligned for future projects and then, wham you have an ally when you need one. Believe me, when it comes to getting promoted, the more positive your name comes up, the better chance you’ll have.
5. And the fifth in summary is :BE ON THE RADAR
It’s really a combination of all of the above. Work hard, play the game, help your manager and hang in there. But Sirens don’t be too over pushy. You need to be ready to pounce when the time is right but try not to pee off your peers. Nobody likes the school pet.