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Path to Promotion: Make a Plan, Have an Impact

Path to Promotion: Make a Plan, Have an Impact

Are you struggling with advancing in your career? Maybe you believe you’ve been checking all of the right boxes and you’re still coming up short. So many professionals become demoralized and frustrated from lack of promotion and not knowing what to do or where to turn. What if you had the formula for success?

Katie is one of my clients that felt exactly this way. As a sergeant for the police force, she pursued a promotion to lieutenant on three separate occasions over the course of three years to no avail. She was ready to talk to the chief directly to get a handle on why she was continually passed over. Frankly, she was pissed!

A friend of hers suggested that she give me a call to talk through this before approaching the chief. Katie and I devised a plan for her to assess her gaps for each promotion by comparing her assumed deficiencies against those folks that won the promotion. She executed her homework flawlessly.

Her next step was to talk to her boss, a lieutenant, to gain feedback on her perceived gaps. She gained the permission to talk to the captain from her lieutenant so he could fill in gaps her supervisor may have missed. Finally, she gained the captain’s permission to solicit feedback from the chief.

In the meeting with the chief, she presented her gaps and asked him these three questions:

  • What should I start doing?
  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I continue doing?

During their conversation, the chief told her that there is nothing she should stop doing; she is doing a wonderful job with what she has on her plate. He did tell her, though, that he would like her to get involved with the public information officer (PIO) as she has a wealth of skills that could help the chief in that area.

Katie dug in over the next several months with the PIO making a huge difference in the organization. Just recently, she was promoted to a newly opened lieutenant position she had desperately been striving for over the last three years!

Here’s the recipe for success if this sounds like your story:

  1. Make a plan. Figure out your gaps and determine what ‘good’ looks like to close them.
  2. Use your power. Leverage your strengths and create goals that move you forward.
  3. Get promoted. Be visible and valuable in the organization by working on the right stuff.
  4. Have an impact. Move to the next level by living to your fullest potential.

Do you need help with clarity in your career? Take the bossiblyquiz.com to see where you should start making the changes needed to advance the way you want in the workplace. 


Michelle Burke is the founder and Maven Maker of bossibly and co-founder of the Talent Management System (TMS). She aides business owners and young professional women alike by coaching them to become influential leaders. Using a unique system, she combines core values, strategy and metrics to help them create predictable results, accountability, profit and payback.


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