“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
~ Abraham Maslow ~
Client Sylvia Asks: I want to get promoted. I even see the job I’d like to get. But I don’t know how to position myself so that I’ll be the natural choice for that promotion.
Coach Joel Answers: Sylvia, almost every company has a succession planning model in place. They identify the skills needed for each job. Then they look at potential employees and evaluate them based on those essential skills.
When you understand how the succession planning model works, you can take advantage of that knowledge to help groom yourself for the next level.
1. Understand the demands of the job you want. You can look at the job and recognize some of the skills and competencies needed. Write them down. Look at what the current job holder has to do.
List his duties. What kinds of responsibilities does the job have? Next list the skills needed to do the job. Will you need great communication skills? Good decision making skills? Will you need to build a team, work in customer care, arbitrate, or give directions?
You do not have to create this list all by yourself. It is likely that the company already has a list in their succession planning materials. Discuss this with your supervisor or with HR to see what qualities they require for this job. You might do this at your annual review or you can request a time to talk to your boss about your career advancement aspirations.
2. Evaluate where you are now and where you need to be. Make a list of your skills and qualifications. Review your past jobs and look at the qualities you exhibited there.
Now match them to the list of skills needed for your ideal job. Where do you match up? Where do you come short?
Again, you will likely want to review this with your boss. You may be surprised to find that she does not see in you all the qualifications you see in yourself. She may also recognize competencies in you that you have not considered.
As you share with her your goals, see if you can get buy-in from her to support you in your aspirations for this job. It may be that she will add you to the organization’s succession planning model for that next position.
Even if that does not formally happen, you can still take the organization’s succession planning information to plot your own career advancement goals.
3. Obtain the needed competencies and skill sets. Now that you have the two lists, work to make them match. Fill in the gaps to make you the ideal candidate for the job.
You’re a step ahead because your boss knows your goals. You can study, get coaching, and join professional organizations on your own. But you’ll need assistance from your organization to cross train, find a mentor, or be placed on committees, teams, and task forces that will give you the skills you need.
By following the same plan the company does as they look at succession planning, you model your career advancement on this information as well. When your skills match their own standards for your dream job, you will become the natural choice to step into that position.
To define your personal succession plan and claim your next step up, contact Joel.
Talkback: Have you discussed your next step with your boss? How has the idea of succession planning helped you focus on the skills you must first acquire?
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