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The 5 Keys to Make Yourself Promotable!

It's your career, "OWN IT"

In a recent article in Inc. magazine Ryan Jenkins talked about how companies are failing to grow & develop millennials & that this is essential if they want to attract & retain the best young professionals. He found that millennials criticism of corporate training cites poor content (not engaging), lack of external thinking & marginal relevance to the learning they want; specific to help them in their jobs today. My friend, Michael de Boer sees an opportunity to fill that gap. His start-up ( is targeted at bringing leadership & skills development to young professionals inside medium/large organizations in a millennial way.

Michael’s model is a millennial approach to leadership & skills development. He delivers relevant content (leadership & soft skills); uses external sources (sages) & makes it engaging (focused, collaborative & experiential). Knowing of my team development work with organizations & my work with universities on millennial peer mentoring he asked me to be one of his “sages” (to help the “seekers” within organizations). I really like what he’s doing so I said yes. The next discussion was where do we start?

When I reflected on it, I thought about millennials complaints of lack of support that got me building a peer mentoring software application for them. I re-listened to Simon Sinek’s advice about boomers complaints about the enigma of millennials & his conclusion that we are obligated to empathetically help them. Finally, I asked myself, if I could go back in time & give myself one piece of advice when I was working in a big organization, what would it be?

This hit home for me given my struggles in big organizations where I’d get 5 star ratings from clients & 3 stars from my boss; which totally confused me. So I proposed to Mike, lets do a workshop on “how to make yourself promotable” & we’ll do it in a brief, focused, collaborative & experiential way. He agreed, “lets do it”. Combining my experiences as both an employee & executive, as well as a research on the topic, I distilled the most common factors & developed the 5 keys to making yourself promotable workshop as outlined below.

The 5 keys workshop starts by resetting young professional’s paradigm.

  1. The organization isn’t staying up nights worrying about how to advance your career, it’s YOUR career & you have to OWN IT because no one else will.

  2. Stop thinking of yourself as an employee, think of yourself as an intrapreneur & you have a product to sell called “YOU”.

Next we go through the 5 keys:

  1. Understand what your boss is looking for – your boss is your customer & as Peter Drucker tells us, whoever understands the customer best gets the business.

  2. Build your network & be a team player – business is a team sport, its not how well you play,it's how well you play on the team.

  3. Perform & show your leadership potential – you need to be an “A” performer & in doing so recognize & grab the opportunities that arise to “step-up”.

  4. Communicate your brand & your goals – be aware of & manage your personal brand & share your goals, because no one can help if they don’t know.

  5. Own your attitude, it sets your altitude – your attitude is the biggest factor in being promoted, as Zig Ziggler says “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”. Simply, think of the attitude of a person you’d love to work with, then adopt that attitude & others will feel that way toward you.

Then we put people into peer groups, have them introduce themselves & spend a majority of the time discussing a focal question that makes the concepts presented relevant & actionable. Finally we debrief, ask participants some tough questions & challenge them to put some of their ideas into practice. The feedback from participants has been fantastic, some have formed peer mentoring groups. I’m really excited to see these amazing young professionals take ownership & become the great future leaders we need.

These are ideas you need to consider to take yourself to the next level. If you like them, please pass them on. If you'd like a free 1 1/2 hour experiential workshop on the 5 Keys delivered inside your organization, contact us.

Brad Gaulin, P.Eng., MBA

Chief Evolution Officer

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