How To Manage Through The Five Stages Of Your Own Internal Promotion

All internal promotions are provisional and provisional. The moment you think you’ve secured promotion, you’re on your way to failure. Instead, make sure you’re always the best candidate to do your job your way, intentionally and consciously do your current job well, and then progress through the five stages of internal promotion:

  1. In the consideration set
  2. Promised privately
  3. Publicly referred to or named
  4. Officially appointed or elected
  5. in role

1) In the consideration sentence

Well-managed succession planning produces a number of individuals who could succeed the incumbent. Including it in this recital is the first step towards a future promotion. Once you’ve done that, invest in understanding the job you’re being considered for and the way that job needs to be done – its job, its way. Become the best possible candidate by further developing required strengths, including:

  • talent – the match between your innate talents and those required in the new role.
  • knowledge – learned from books, courses, training, etc.
  • Be able – honed through intentional, intentional practice.
  • experience – Acquired through activities, projects, programs, tasks and other roles.
  • Artistic sensitivity and care at a level of craftsmanship – immersed in the apprenticeship training to become a master craftsman.

The breaking point between the challenge phrase and the job’s promise is to be one of several candidates for the promotion in order to be the only candidate.

2) Privately promised

Even the well-intentioned private promise of a new job is only a statement about the best thinking at the moment. Keep building on your strengths. Identify the few most critical decision makers and influencers. Actively seek them out and build relationships with them to build their support for you in the promised role.

The breaking point between privately promised and “publicly” determined is just that – telling others you’ll get the job.

3) Publicly named or named

A public naming is a crucial moment. Those who support your promotion will flock to you. Those who oppose it will unite against you. Identify your supporters, critics, and onlookers, and work to bring everyone one step closer to tip the balance in your favor.

  • Turn supporters into champions.
  • Move the ones on the fence to the supporter camp.
  • Neutralize the critics.

Note that you are still applying for the job. Keep building on your strengths. Start with the longer-term fuzzy front-end activities like building more specific relationships, deepening your learning, and planning.

4) Officially appointed or elected

Once officially appointed or officially elected, go all out with your fuzzy front-end activities, build relationships, deepen your knowledge, and craft your personal 100-day plan of action using the components below

  1. leadership approach
  2. Personal facility
  3. stakeholderstop, cross and bottom inside and outside
  4. news and important communication points
  5. pre-launch conversations and activities
  6. day one and conversations and activities of the early days
  7. Tactical capacity building blocks including imperative, milestones, early achievements, role sorting and ongoing communication

In some cases, you will assume the new role at the moment you are formally appointed or elected. In other cases there is a delay.

5) In the role

All roles are preliminary and provisional. You can take out the people you put in the role. So don’t stop. Focus on doing their job their way. Keep building on your strengths. Strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.

And keep an eye out for changes so you can adapt. People fail in new roles for three reasons: 1) They don’t fit (which is less of a risk with an internal promotion). 2) They don’t deliver. 3) You cannot adapt to subsequent changes. After mitigating suitability risk before official naming, focus on delivery and customization.

Use your strengths to deliver what they need, their way.

Keep an eye out and watch for changes and understand if they are:

  • Minor and temporary – requires no change on your part
  • Small and persistent – requires an evolution
  • Major and Temporary – Requires short-term crisis management or opportunistic action
  • Significant and Lasting – requires a reboot before the people who put you in the role get someone else to reboot things.

click here for a list of my Forbes articles (of which this is #789) and a synopsis of my book on executive onboarding: The new leader’s 100-day plan of action.

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