People tell me about their ambitious aspirations and then ask me how they might take that next big step up. I suggest that there are five benchmarks you need to pay attention to: 1) Power, 2) Influence, 3) Visibility, 4) Perception, and 5) Demonstrate Performance.
The first step in climbing the corporate ladder, aside from having a good personality and character, is:
1. BEING A PERFORMER. Business takes place in the domain of accomplishment and you have to be able to demonstrate results. Think about the “10 X factor.” The people I have helped get to the top not only have big personal and organizational ambitions, they also work ten times harder than the next person and produce ten times greater results.
2. PERCEPTION OF HIGH POTENTIAL. If you want a promotion, you can’t just work hard and hope and pray that some light will shine through. If you want a promotion, you need to be sure your performance is recognized. Start with learning to toot your own horn.
3. ACHIEVE VISIBILITY IN HIGH PLACES. Getting to the top requires being visible to people at the top. Speak up at big meetings where you might normally be silent. Consciously and intentionally say something that adds value.
4. GAINING INFLUENCE. Leadership is all about influence. Who’s in your sphere of influence? Supporters? Opposers? People on the fence? How can you get where you are going by helping others get where they are going?
5. WIELDING POWER. Power is about gaining formal authority. One way to get power is to ask for it. Next time your boss asks you to do something say, “I will be happy to do this for you. I also would like you to do this for me, I want to be in that corner office.”