I have seen the future

It’s a fact of career life – sometimes the most important decisions and conversations about our trajectory happen when we are not in the room. If you keep getting out promoted by the new kids on the block, it’s time to think about creating internal champions who are willing to spend their hard won political capital on your behalf. Here are some tips you can deploy to get you started:

Connect the dots: Our career lives would be so much easier if management could just pull a Tom Cruise, read our mind and see what we see when we think of ourselves at work. Your manager is not a pre-cog, unfortunately so if you do see a future with your firm/team/boss- articulate it. Let your boss know why and link your vision with her strategy, your unit’s strategy and if possible, the strategy of the firm. Connecting the dots in this way evidences that you are willing to do the leg work it takes to get your promotion, while making sure that your firm will reap rewards too.

Have a marketing plan: Don’t be afraid to self promote, even just a little bit. It’s not necessary to be a bold faced wunderkind, but it is OK and perfectly reasonable to ask peers, reports, seniors and vendors to send you an email outlining how you did a good job and the skills sets you used to perform them. Not only does this help you build self-efficacy, it also builds the business case for your promotion with the key decision makers in your chain of command. If those colleagues CC your boss on that email- well even better. Re-reading those emails will also keep you sane on those days at the Mozzeralla farm where the Water Buffalo are just refusing to play nice.

You. Incorporated: Build the business case for You. Inc. This is a tactic I recommend to everyone, not just those thinking about a promotion. Evidence how you understand what your firm needs and wants, and how you already have the experience and skills to deliver. If there are gaps- which there should be- identify the stretch projects that could help you bridge them, and where your current skills can be deployed to high impact on said project as you learn.

You should start to see the fruits of your labor within about six to eight months, and be sure to flag your efforts in your annual review. If you still don’t see movement from your chain of command, then know you are well positioned to platform into a firm that will better value your work and give you that promotion you deserve.