Get promoted more quickly, by solving problems

 In Author, Body language, Delivery, Entrepreneur, Environment, Featured Media, Learning from Luminaries, Luminary, Message creation, News, The Winning Voice, What not to do

Below is a powerful vignette – contained in the book, The Leap to Leader by Adam Bryant  – on what you need to do, to be promoted.

“Finally, if you want to move up quickly,

develop a reputation as a problem-solver.

Companies have problems. Bosses have problems. Be ready to take on those problems—or “challenges,” if that’s what you’d prefer to call them—and you will move up quickly.

Companies have problems. Bosses have problems. Be ready to take on those problems, and you will move up quickly

It’s the advice that Clark Pettit, a current colleague and former CEO of the Association of Business Information and Media Companies, has shared with many people he has mentored over the years.

“I often hear from people who say, ‘I’ve shown up, I’ve done a really good job, I’ve knocked it out of the park, and I’m not being promoted to leader, and others are,’” he said. “One of the things I learned in life is that when I am promoting someone,

I am solving a problem through that promotion.

If I’m a good leader, I’m also quite aware of the journey, development, and opportunity of that individual and their capability and their desire.

But that’s not what I’m solving for. What I’m solving for is, ‘Somebody take this thing off my plate and fix it, please.’

And if you show up to me as, ‘I did my prior job, I did it really well, I am now ready for you to ordain me and give me your personal capital and raise me up and teach me and promote me and hold my hand and introduce me and give me a job description and everything else,’ you are not the candidate that I want.

What I want is someone who says,

‘Could you get out of my way, boss?

I want that job. I’m ready for that job. And I have everything it’ll take for that job. All I need you to do is say yes, and I’ll take care of that problem.’”

In my own career as a manager, I came to think that the three most beautiful words in the English language, at least in the context of work, are I’m on it. Make that your mantra—you may not know right away how you’re going to fix the problem, but you are confident that you are going to fix the problem. Do that consistently, and you will be promoted faster than you expect.

Own the Conversation

Implementation suggestion

  • Make an appointment with yourself for 20, 15, even 10 minutes.
  • In that appointment reflect on the above words and brainstorm problems that you know you can solve for your boss, and/or that you could take off your boss’s plate and that your boss would welcome hearing about.
  • Devise a strategy and action plan for how, when and where you’ll convey the problem solving message to your boss.


p.s. This is my last post of the year. Thank you to my regular readers, sometime readers and new readers. I appreciate you making the time to reading my words. Posts with resume in February.

p.p.s. If you having free time over the holidays you might enjoy listening to this 43 minute podcast where I’m interviewed on ’10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn’.

p.p.p.s. Let me me leave you with one of my favourite quotations on persistence and luck, from American entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman (he’s NOT the ChatGPT Sam Altman).

“A big secret is that you can bend the world to your will a surprising percentage of the time—most people don’t even try, and just accept that things are the way that they are. People have an enormous capacity to make things happen.”

Here is a link to the article How to be successful that contains the quotation.

Nothing but the best for abundance of good things in 2024!

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to Behind the Voice

Regular insights, guidance and commentary on how communication influences business and the world around us

Thank you for subscribing