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As someone who has gone from Manager, to Director, to Head of in just 3 years (during a pandemic), I’d like to think I have some insight to share on the subject.
This was not an easy feat, and it took some sacrifice to get here and ultimately you have to decide you are willing to “play the game”.
So if you’re ready to swallow your pride, put some intention behind your plan, and sacrifice some extra curricular activities - this installment of The Sales RX Newsletter is for you.
Similar to sales, you have to ask for it. Nobody is going to assume your career path and desired trajectory.
Especially in the remote work climate (if that’s your reality) it’s growing increasingly tough for frontline managers and second line directors to understand the career goals and desires of their direct reports.
Keep in mind, this is not just a step to take with your boss, you need your boss's boss to understand what you are trying to accomplish with the efforts you’re putting in.
My biggest tip here - make your intentions known early, and often.
Sacrifice is going to be essential here. I’m not saying welcome to the 60 hour work week, but no more of these 30-35 week get bys.
Whether you have 3 kids and a spouse, or a fun group of friends that occupy your evenings and weekends, a little extra time spent on your inputs can go a long way.
You can easily sacrifice a Thirsty Thursday every other week, or even an early Saturday morning once a month to take time to make time and set yourself up for success.
Talk about it don’t be about it. Nobody likes the new person who starts sharing industry insight articles and their favorite professional development books right off the bat without earning any clout.
Think about it. If we just met and I haven’t shown you my physical abilities but started sharing all these diet and weightlifting resources, why would you even care?
Give yourself some room to show and prove, and let your results and effort speak for themselves.
But for now, pipe down on the “hey team, I thought ya’ll would find this valuable” Slack messages to the group.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win. In fact, one of my personal favorite quotes is from the movie Moneyball, when Brad Pitt (who is playing Billy Beane the main character) says: “I hate losing, I hate losing more than I want to win.”
Somewhere along the lines of hustle porn, and toxic leadership we were told that a desire to be first was a bad thing - it’s not.
It’s also not a bad thing because you need to be seen as a top performer who gives their maximum effort.
I’m going to tell you a dirty little secret about career progression: Great work means nothing if it goes unnoticed.
Keep a running tab of your achievements. Preferably a spreadsheet. This just allows your data to be more malleable to the medium.
You’re going to need your data if you want to have a leg to stand on when asking for a promotion.
What you may or may not realize is that every decision your boss, your boss's boss, and their boss's boss is making, is all reliant on data.
If you can’t speak their language - you have no business being in their business.
This or that. How does one make a decision?
In sales we typically do an A/B test to understand performance metrics with a controlled set of data.
However, when it comes to showing where you can make an impact, you need to draw a comparison between what you have accomplished (using your data) and what that potential to do it at a higher level can mean for the company.
For example, when I moved into SDR Leadership I was the top Account Executive (salesperson) on the SMB/MM team, but it was primarily because of my ability to self generate my own opportunities.
I was not reliant on SDRs, and had an incredible top of funnel messaging, processes, and work ethic that helped me “eat” when others were not.
I leveraged this insight, in addition to my merits based on performance (both recognized and unrecognized) to show how I was a better hire for the open position than someone who might have relevant management experience, but no company or industry experience.
Guess who they picked? Surprise surprise, it was me.
You have to remember that no matter if the economy is good and business is booming, or a recession is looming and times are tough - companies have a responsibility to make the fiscally right decisions.
Implementing these 6 steps can drastically help you improve your chances of progressing your career, securing a higher guaranteed salary, and potentially better benefits (depending on your company) and move towards achieving the life you deserve.
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