The Productivity Institute

Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact


Five Practices to get a Promotion

By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

“Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go;
From 7-3 it’s helping me;
Hi ho, hi ho.”

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.”

I have a rule that I follow. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We ought not to make changes just for the sake of change. If everything about your career path is fine and you are satisfied where you are and where you are going (or not going!), then leave it alone.

But, if your goal is to enjoy more rapid promotions and raises in your career, I have learned five practices to help increase your chances of realizing that reasonable goal.

  1. Relate Your Position To Your Life’s Long-Term Goals. We all have Seven Vital Areas in our lives: Health, Family, Financial, Intellectual, Social, Professional, and Spiritual. Where do you want to wind up on the last day of your life in each of those Seven Vital Areas? The answer to that question begins to help us focus on what our lifetime goals are. Then look at your current position as just that, a “position,” a platform to help you to get to where you want to go. How can your current position be utilized to get you to where you want to go in life? How can it enhance your Health life? Your Social life? Your Intellectual life? When you understand how your work becomes a vehicle to get you to where you want to go you move out of a “job,” where you just trade your time for money, and into a “position.”
  2. Plan Your Day The Night Before. Don’t live life by accident, by chance. Live life on purpose. Plan out in writing each night what you “have to” do and what you “want to” do the next day and prioritize that list in the order of importance of each to you in light of your commitments and responsibilities but also in light of the goals you wish to achieve. Yes, much of your day will be controlled by doing what you “have to” do, but in the “down” time, when you have choices on how to spend your time, you will have a plan of action to direct you to using that time more effectively.
  3. Exceed Expectations. Promise a lot, but deliver a whole lot more. If we want more money in the world, more responsibility, then we have to do more now than what we are already being paid for. “Any job worth doing is worth doing well.” Not only is this a benefit for enhancing our career potential, but a way of enhancing our own self-esteem and personal pride.
  4. Invest Time Regularly For Learning. Don’t rely solely on what you know now. That is what is getting you by, for now. Ask yourself, “What do I need to learn today that will help solidify my success five years from today?” Is it computer skills, management techniques, or a foreign language? I do not have any better crystal ball than anyone else but I do spend some of my time, (about two days per month), re-investing in my future, learning skills and concepts that will help me to prepare for this changing world. Our employers sometimes make training available to us. Take advantage of it. But beyond that, we have to supplement and manage our own education program.
  5. Ask The “Boss Question.” Companies are always polling their customers, “how do you know when we are doing a good job for you?” Your biggest customer in the work-world is your boss. Your boss often has control over the money you may receive and the promotions you may get (or not get). Be in sync with the boss. A lot of promotions are lost because we were on a path that we thought the boss wanted, only to find out, at the annual review, that we were going in the wrong direction. Periodically ask the boss “how do you know when I am doing a good job for you?”

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Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Certified Executive Coach, Consultant and Trainer
Author, “Organizing Your Life” and “The Productivity Handbook”
Productivity Institute
Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062
(800) 969-3773
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