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How to Stop Making Lateral Moves 🙄 (What to do if you were passed over for promotion)

We are in the middle of performance review season, and that means you are about to find out if you are getting a promotion. If you followed a promotion plan, enlisted the right stakeholders, and put together a strong business case - you can expect good news.

But hey, things don’t always go according to plan. If you have been through a few performance reviews and still no promotion - maybe it’s time to reevaluate your strategy and make some changes.

If you’ve been stuck at the same level or have been making lateral moves, this is for you.

Why are you not getting promoted?

Let’s look at some of the possible reasons why you are not getting a promotion:

  • Your manager doesn’t think you are ready

  • Your work doesn’t demonstrate your potential

  • There is no compelling business case to promote you

All of these reasons have one thing in common. They are in your control! All you need to do is follow a simple strategy and you’ll be able to eliminate all three.

If you have what it takes to level up - this process will give you the tools to demonstrate your potential.

If you have a few blind spots or gaps, this simple process will show exactly what to work on to qualify yourself and demonstrate your potential in the process.

What to do if you were passed over for promotion

Step #1

The first thing you need to do is take a day or two to breathe and process. Don’t jump to conclusions (I’m not good enough) or blame anyone (but it was my turn!). Take a good look at the feedback you’ve received and be honest with yourself. Is this feedback valid? Do you have room for improvement?

Step #2

You are going to turn the feedback you’ve received into an improvement plan.

Start by reviewing the feedback you’ve received to make sure you understand it. Turn every area for improvement into a separate goal.

For example:

  • Stakeholder management

  • Better delegation

  • Copywriting skills

For each goal ask yourself: what does good like? Is there anyone around me who excels at doing this?

You can also ask your manager for clarification and examples to better understand what great performance could look like.

Now that you know what is expected of you, you can think of ideas, actions, or projects that will give you an opportunity to improve.

Voilà! You have an improvement plan!

Step #3

Turn your plan into a one-pager or one slide and share it with your manager. You are doing it for three reasons:

You want to make sure you and your manager are aligned on what it would take for you to get a promotion.

If your manager knows what you are planning they can help you create opportunities to grow your skills.

When you have a plan it's easier to demonstrate progress.

Get your manager’s sign-off and start executing!

Set up monthly or quarterly check-ins with your manager to track progress and make sure you are moving in the right direction.

Rejection as redirection

On average only 9% of employees get a promotion. The ones who get promoted fast and often don’t sit back and wait to see what happens.

You don’t have to wait for a performance review to learn where your gaps are and start working toward a promotion. You can be proactive and put a strategy in place early on to make yourself promotion ready. This way, when it’s performance review time, you’ll check every box for promotion and make it a slam dunk.

That’s exactly what I teach in my course The Promotion Accelerator. It’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter.

Your career → Your responsibility.

I believe in you and I’m rooting for you.

Maya ❤️


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