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The Hidden Decision Criteria For Promotions You Don't Know About

Imagine this:

It’s performance review week, and you are feeling pretty good.

You hit your goals, worked hard, and are ready to take on more responsibility.

Your Slack messages tell you that your peer from the product team got promoted to Director. Okay, it makes sense; she’s very competent.

Another ping. Your colleague from engineering, who was hired just five months ago, got promoted, too. Hmm... maybe they were lucky.

You jump on a call with your manager, ready to be congratulated, but you learn that you didn’t get the promotion this time. Your manager says your work is impeccable… but you are not there yet.

You are not the bragging kind, but you feel like you are ready. You’ve crushed your goals and did everything you were asked to do. Not to mention, you’ve been in this role for 2 years…

Sounds familiar?

You know you have what it takes… but no one else can see it.

And then people with less experience or seniority get promoted, and you can’t help but wonder:

What’s wrong with me?

Let me reassure you there’s nothing wrong with you.

Getting promoted into senior roles takes more than hitting your goals.

There are 5 elements to every promotion, and if you are only focusing on your work… you’re missing 80% of your chances to level up.

Don’t worry. We’re going to change that.

The 5 Hidden Elements of Executive Promotions

I’ll be honest. At the beginning of my career, I focused only on hard work and exceeding expectations. I could outwork anyone! This got me to mid-management… but then the rules of the game changed.

I learned that at the executive level, your accomplishments only account for about 20% of the decision criteria.

Aceing your role is a requirement before you level up, but it is just the starting point.

That means focusing solely on doing a good job reduces your chances of getting promoted by 80%.

It took me 15 years of trial and error and gaining 10 promotions to put together the full strategy and turn it into a habit.

It will take you about 7 minutes to learn, and you can start implementing it tomorrow.

I call it the STARTAP methodology.

To create the perfect promotion storm and take your promotion conversations from “maybe” to “how soon can you start,” you need to have 5 elements in place:

1. Skills and requirements

To become a senior executive, you need to know what it means and takes to be one.

The skills, the experience, the qualifications, and the mindset. How will you qualify yourself if you don’t know what your next role requires?

Some companies do a good job teaching you what it takes, but for the most part, you’ll need to figure it out on your own.

The best way to do that is to talk to people in the job you want—the title, the industry, the profession. These people are living the career you want to have, so what better way to get the inside information?

Get absolutely clear on what is essential and nice to have, and spend your time developing the most valuable skills.

2. Advocates

When was the last time you needed a service provider? How did you find them?

Did you open your phone book and randomly choose someone? Hell no. You asked your friends, family, or neighbors. You got a referral or a recommendation because we trust people we know more than anything else. It’s called social proof.

So imagine how hard it would be for your manager to approve your promotion if they are the only ones vouching for you.

People promote people. And people need social proof to get reassurance before making big decisions.

You need to build a network of advocates who will advocate for you when your manager mentions your name. It’s like getting reviews on Amazon. The more 5-star reviews you have, the easier it will be to become the number one choice.

Randomly hitting an executive 2 weeks before a performance review is not how you enlist advocates. This guide will show you what to do instead.

3. Reputation

This is a harsh truth, but you need to hear it.

When it comes to the corporate world, perception is reality.

What I mean is that it doesn’t matter who you really are or what you do. What matters is what people think and how they perceive you.

It’s unfair, but it is human nature. We all form opinions based on our actions, interactions, and information. So you have two options.

You can do your best work and hope that it speaks for itself and sends the right message (it won’t) or actively shapes how people perceive you.

You can control the narrative and position yourself as executive material. However, before you are ready, you will need to start thinking and acting at the next level.

Demonstrate the impact of your work and tie your success to the company’s success. Think more strategically and learn to communicate clearly and with confidence.

4. Achievements

How well you do the work you were hired to do is the baseline for a promotion. If you are not hitting or exceeding expectations, why should anyone believe you are ready for the next level?

But that is just the prerequisite. The real game changer is taking it a step further and doing next-level work before you get the promotion.

It’s not about doing free work and working more hours; it’s about reducing risk. When you are promoted internally, the company takes a chance on you. They give you responsibilities you’ve never had before and trust that you’ll figure it out.

When you do next-level work in advance, you show them you have what it takes and reduce the risk of taking a bet on you.

5. Presenting a Business Case

It may sound counterintuitive, but YOUR promotion is not about YOU. It’s about the company.

If you want to make your promotion inevitable, you need to convince stakeholders that they will be better off when you level up. You need your promotion to make sense from a business perspective, so it’s a win-win.

Presenting a business case is an opportunity to showcase your past achievements and envision a compelling future.

Not to mention, your manager or stakeholders do not remember everything you do. They’re too busy fighting their own battles.

A business case is a great way to make it easy for them to advocate for you. They’ll have the data they need to sing your praise without scratching their head trying to remember why you rock.

Your Next Steps

You just learned in a few minutes what took me years to figure out: the complete strategy for landing executive promotions.

Have you been implementing all of these elements? Or mainly focusing on hard work?

If it’s the latter, it’s time to implement the STARTAP methodology.

Following these guidelines will save you years of frustration and heartache and give you an unfair advantage.

If you know, you are ready for the next level but can’t make others see it, this is the plan you’ve been looking for.

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

Maya ❤️


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