Should I Go for This Promotion?
So I just got a message from a woman I coach asking about a position that was just posted on her company’s internal job posting site. She’s looking to grow her career and wonders if she should apply for this position because it’d be a promotion, would leverage her strengths more than her current job, and would pay more money.
Three pluses! She should apply for it, right?
Not so fast.
Let’s play chess, not checkers. Our actions are not just about what’s immediately in front of us, but also focused on our vision and longer term goals. There are a host of things to consider when deciding whether or not to throw your name in the hat for a new position.
What’s your background?
Before deciding to apply for a new position, especially one internal to your organization, first consider your background.
How long have you been with your company?
How long have you been in your current role?
What’s your reputation?
We’ll come back to why and how these questions matter in a moment. What’s most important now is answering these questions very objectively.
My client joined her employer a year ago and is recognized as being smart and talented. She had been trying to get in with this company for at least two years so she took an individual contributor position that's far below her leadership talents and capabilities just to get in.
She had good reasons for taking such large steps backwards to join this organization. Yet the fact that she’s now in a position multiple levels below her talent makes each subsequent career move incredibly important if she does not want to stay stuck at that lower level.
What’s the context of the new position relative to your current role?
Take stock of everything about this new position, such as:
Who’s in the full line of leadership? Are they connected and respected?
What’s the reputation of the new group?
What level of visibility would this new position have?
Definitely consider not just who this position reports to, but the entire chain of leadership for that group. Are they connected to major happenings in the organization? What’s their reputation? Are they known for making significant contributions to the company? Do they invest in their people? Are they a fun group?
Be clinical in answering these questions! It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the entire barrel. One poor leader or a poor reputation is hard to overcome and before you know, you’re considered one of them if you get the new position.
My client is currently in a front-facing sales group and has access to key customers. The new position works behind-the-scenes internally, at a managerial level. The new position’s level of visibility within the organization is pretty much non-existent. The majority of our coaching was devoted to this distinction.
So, we go back to the first set of questions about background. With my client’s background of being relatively new to this organization and currently buried in the leadership chain, she has to ask herself if going to a manager-level position in a group with no visibility is the best move at this time based on her longer term goals.
If she goes for this role, she needs to do so eyes wide open and with a strategy about how she will increase her visibility in the new role. Because it doesn’t matter how good you are: if you're invisible, you’re forgotten.
What’s Your End Goal?
Is your primary goal to increase your income?
What emotional need are you really trying to fill in pursuing the new position?
How does this new role support your ultimate career, lifestyle and family goals?
You may be surprised that I didn’t start with these questions first. In coaching hundreds of people over the years I’ve come to know what’s likely to trip folks up and what leapfrogs them ahead.
And it’s very important that you make an honest, objective, “hard-grader” assessment of your background and the new role FIRST before answering these last set of questions.
Because when it comes to promotions, a lot of folks look to the money first.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make more money! However, I’ve seen people go after new positions primarily because of the money and with little, if any, due diligence to these important factors. And before they know it, they encounter major roadblocks like a lack of visibility in the organization, no opportunities for growth and development, struggles in balancing work and family, etc.
As you answer these questions for yourself you’ll be in a clearer position to know whether a new opportunity is one to pursue or pass on.
P.S. Want to know what it takes to have financial strength so money isn’t a driving factor in your decisions? I invite you to take my quiz [QUIZ NAME/HYPERLINK] now!