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Get promoted in 2012 - 7 tips
By Adrian Hobbs

Ever found yourself wondering what others are doing to get ahead in the professional race? Well, it may be that a few of the tricks listed below could finally do it for you. In fact, now wouldn’t be too bad a time to set your sights on climbing the ladder, as historically, a lot of professionals tend to set career goals at the start of the year. Here are just a few of the tips that could well set you apart and give you that competitive edge necessary to get ahead.

1. Blend in. Reaching the top isn't just about results; it's about fitting in with those who are already there. Sun Tzu once said, “Know yourself and know your enemies, and in a hundred battles, win a hundred victories”. Well, bosses and colleagues are not your enemies, but you would do well to know their working styles, past successes and failures and how these have shaped their outlook.

2. Less detail, more outcomes. While others are buried deep in ‘detail’ conversations, try and separate yourself by earning a reputation for outcomes and goals. Anyone can process, but very few have anything to show at the end of the process. Leaders want to know what they're getting from you, not what you're up to. If you want a promotion, which current problem does your promotion solve? Position your promotion as the answer to your manager's problems.

3. Take criticism on board. Criticism can be difficult to take, but it takes a level of maturity to be proactive in the face of criticism. Make it your goal to excel in an area in which you have received criticism before – and then when you have excelled, make sure the boss knows about it!

4. Enlist ‘serendipity’s’ help. While you can’t make good things happen when you want them to, you can always schedule news releases of your biggest successes to coincide with any reviews you have lined up. This way, your successes are still fresh in the mind for when it matters most.

5. Focus, focus, focus. Pareto’s principle is a time honoured truth that will add hours to your day: focus on the 20% of activities that generate 80% of the results. Steven Covey puts it this way, “Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least”.

6. Show devotion. Have you bought into the company’s mission, goals and products/services? Even if you have, it’s still not enough – it needs to show. What better way to show it than to talk the talk - vibrant language ('energised', 'inspired', 'thrilled') and a big smile usually helps. Back up the talk with proof - indisputable facts. Qualitative data is good; quantitative is better; results presented in pounds, dollars and EUR are best of all.

7. Stick at it. Don’t give up. You may have missed out a couple of times, but guess what, you are probably more experienced than you were then, and smarter too. Capture the insights, adapt and come back stronger.

8. Bonus tip: read, read, read. I know I promised you 7 tips, call this 8th one a New Year bonus. Steven Covey has said that your working knowledge base has a half shelf life of two and a half years. That means that half of everything you know will be outdated in two and half years – unless you are continually reading and updating your skills. Staying abreast of new ideas and developments in your industry and profession will ensure that you are always one step ahead of the game – which will be handy, come review time.

Good luck and I hope you pick up that promotion soon.

Added: 16th January 2012

With over 25 years experience in making businesses more efficient, Adrian Hobbs is a pioneer in lean business modeling, employee development and change management.  Find out more about Adrian's company Flex Recruitment.

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