Advancing in Place

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While writing my post about the frames through which people see us and how they limit relationships and growth, I realized I could provide more detailed guidance to young professionals on how to break out of limiting frames in their current job roles and organizations.

After all, if you love the company, enjoy the company’s work, and respect and gain from your colleagues, why would you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater just to change roles or advance in your career?

Yet many people don’t know how to break their frames—which makes them feel they must leave.

It’s a shame.

Here’s how to take initiative, break free from others’ limiting perspectives, and advance within your organization:

  • Volunteer. See a desired assignment? Ask for it. Never hope it lands in your lap—especially if it isn’t something you’ve done in the past.

  • Speak up. Make your goal career trajectory known to your manager, your manager’s manager, and anyone else who could help advance your cause.

  • Create an action plan. To get where you want to go, what steps do you need to take? Ask your manager for guidance—yet don’t wait for him to draft your action plan. Develop a draft and show it to him. Ensure you can undertake some of the plan’s actions on your own initiative, without your manager’s involvement or permission.

  • Research. Read books. Attend seminars and conferences—even if you have to fund them. The investment will pay dividends when you get what you want.

  • Subtly brag. The higher ups need to know about the independent research you’ve done and the extra work you’ve undertaken to pursue your goal. (How? Read this.)

  • Apply. See a role at your company that you’d like? Toss your hat in the ring. Even if you don’t get the job this time, you’ll have met the key decision makers and you’ll get good practice interviewing for the dream role.

I’ve written it before in my post about the fine line management walks between micromanaging and not managing enough:

Initiative is taken, not given.

If you take the actions I’ve outlined above, your company will begin to see you differently. Without needing to completely shift organizations you’ll advance up the chain to the role you want.

What guidance would you give up and comers about advancing within their organizations?