Working your way up the corporate ladder used to be a simple process. Show up on time, do your job and perform reliably, and more than likely you would be rewarded with a promotion or a seat at the management table.
These days, the path to promotion is much different, a result of an evolving business environment and culture. Consider, for instance, that Baby Boomers, the last great generation that grew up with the ideology of working in one job for the duration of their careers, are retiring and being replaced with Millennials, the latest generation that holds nowhere near that same expectations.
Moreover, technology has made it possible for anyone with a little ambition and initiative to learn new traits and skills online -- or simply from their mobile phone -- that can provide a substantial competitive advantage.
Because of this, staying relevant and earning that promotion requires an additional set of skills and outlooks. Here are a few to keep in mind as you plan your accession to the top.
Make Yourself Expendable
I remember when taking (and being able to take) a long vacation meant that your job was not important enough to be missed in your absence, which is why my generation (Gen X) became the masters of the long weekends.
Today, as counterintuitive as it may sound, being great at your job means being someone who can find more effective and efficient ways of completing your responsibilities. This requires a skill for keeping up with rapidly changing technology and business trends and applying them to your position, even if that means eventually eliminating your own job.
Management needs this kind of entrepreneurial mindset, and even if your job does not become expendable, you at least need to make sure management can replace you as they promote you.
Get In Their Grill
While your great work may get noticed by those responsible for promotions, your performance could get overshadowed if you are not communicating your accomplishments in a meaningful way. Now, you do not need to boast about all the great work you do on social media or in the lunchroom, but do take the time to occassionally check in meet with those in charge and discuss with them your progress.
The "performance currency" of the past used to be benchmarks, meaning you could look to sales numbers, closed deals, or completed tasks to show how well you had performed.
To really get noticed, however, you need to demonstrate the value you bring to your company, both now and in the future. For instance, closing a deal can result in immediate revenue, but closing or nurturing a long-term client could deliver much more value in perpetuity to the organization.
Play to Your Strengths
We spend too much time trying to correct perceived weaknesses we believe will help us get a promotion. Instead, identify areas where you excel and create a strategy for applying these strengths to your current position. That might mean altering your job to fit with your strengths or changing positions altogether.
Make a Personal Pivot (if necessary)
In my experience, the easiest way to get promoted is to be passionate about the work you do. When you find passion and a core mission with your work, you become more involved and invested in your work, which eventually helps you capitalize on all the skills mentioned herein.
The best way to determine if your position is right for you -- and if you should be working toward that promotion at all -- is to develop your own personal action plan, which includes a deep, thoughtful evaluation of your personal vision, goals and strengths.
In reality, it is difficult to land a promotion if you are not ultimately passionate and well-suited for the work you do. And in the end, it may turn out that the promotion you are fighting for is just another step in the wrong direction.
What other tips do you have for getting noticed and promoted? Please share your ideas with me on Twitter.