By Sarah HathornÂ
Even before the big ball dropped in Times Square to celebrate the advent of 2011, the media had been bombarding us for weeks with advice about our New Year’s resolutions. Lose a few pounds. Get back in shape. Kick a bad habit. Spend more quality time with your kids. Make better choices in your love life. Refinance your mortgage. Grow your IRA.Â Â
We all love a chance to make a fresh start, don’t we? We want to live a more extraordinary life this year while making more money and enjoying more happiness – despite the bleak economy or fierce competition at work. To make it happen, what about writing down a resolution to really develop yourself to be ready for that next big promotion when the opportunity arises? Most leaders wait to work on their professional development skills until after word gets out that a new position is open – only to have the boss or HR department validate their insecurities by pointing out that they are not quite ready for the added responsibility. I have news for you – if you are waiting for positive validation and a vacancy in the corner office before you decide to step it up, forget it. People do not get promoted by throwing together last-minute image makeovers and self-promotional brand campaigns.Â Â
Most human resource executives involved in succession planning in large companies tell me that when that moment arises for the big promotion, most executives just aren’t fully prepared to step up and seize the day. They may have the education and the specific skill set, and the HR execs are dying to promote someone. But the hiring process isn’t an acute event that happens in a day. You have to earn it by qualifying yourself in the specific ways that make you the top choice. If you don’t know how you are already being perceived by upper management or how to successfully sell yourself – through such things as your professional presence, team building, identification and development of great talent, influential communication, and industry recognition as an innovative leader – then you’ll miss your chance. Those opportunities don’t come around often, and are even less likely to present themselves in 2011 – a year when companies will ramp up by slimming down.Â Â
I invite you to get more proactive in 2011 by strategically investing in your own career success to make things happen. Trust me – if you become valuable enough then your company – or their competitors – will deliberately create a place for you at that higher level even if one does not appear to be available. You are in charge of your destiny – and that includes your salary increases and promotions in 2011. But YOU have to take action NOW.Â Â
Calculating the ROI of Higher Level EarningsÂ Â
You yearn to make a lot more money in 2011, but do you know how to figure out your career ROI? Here’s a brief exercise that will help you envision the additional amount of income you can make over the next three years by securing a timely promotion.Â Â
- First think about how much additional income you would earn if you were promoted this year. In 2010 the promotional increases averaged about 7.4%. So you can use that same figure and your handy calculator to arrive at the expected increase in earnings for 2011.
- Next I want you to try to factor in the dollar amount of your annual merit increases over the next two years (2-3% is forecasted so you can use that in your calculations). Add your merit increase to the number you calculated in step one. The new number gives you a picture of what kind of money you can make by getting that next big promotion and the accompanying merit increases.
- Finally, compare those results to what will happen if you don’t take action quickly to prepare you for that next promotion. What would the merit increases look like on your current salary? Figure the differences between the two different 3-year ROI forecasts for a real wake-up call about why the time is now for preparing for that critical promotion.
Hopefully this exercise demonstrates the importance of investing in your professional development in advance – because it is like buying stock in your career cheap and then enjoying robust returns that are generously compounded over time.Â Â
A Higher Quality Lifestyle for Your FamilyÂ Â
Ever wish you could provide more for your family? Sure, your incentive for getting promoted might be a desire for a prestigious title or industry status, or it could stem from wanting to conquer new territory and put your personal vision into action. But beneath any drive to succeed and win a promotion there is almost always the overwhelming motivation to afford a higher standard of living and ensure a greater lifestyle for you and your family. Imagine being able to actually begin saving now for your children’s college tuition, investing in the company’s 401K plan up to the company match, helping out your elderly parents, or enjoying a better quality of life made possible through extra disposable income. It’s never just about the money, but what the money provides you with – that’s the real motivator.Â Â
Are You Subconsciously Creating Your Own Obstacles?Â Â
Do you ever tell yourself you’re not yet ready or qualified for that promotion? We all have self-sabotaging, limiting beliefs that act as psychological roadblocks. Trust me – I know from personal experience how silent thoughts haunt our minds to keep us feeling small as we cling to a limited zone of familiarity and comfort. Unfortunately these become our internalized beliefs, and we use them as excuses for not seizing those opportunities and promotions we really want and deserve. But they can be overcome if you know the steps and follow the process. I did it myself, and I can train anyone who is willing to translate those negative conversations in the movie theatre of the mind into a powerful internal dialog and vision of confidence and an outward expression of success.Â Â
Practice Makes Perfect!Â Â
Are you starting to think, okay where do I begin? It’s normal to be a little confused about where to begin. What I have found is that most people “don’t know what they don’t know.” They think they want to work with me to develop one skill set until we unearth another developmental need that they didn’t realize existed. When it comes to changing behaviors or thoughts we need a champion or sponsor who can call us out when we begin to retreat back to our old ways, just as Olympic coaches do for their athletes. It takes an experienced expert who can guide you step-by-step with practical solutions to every kind of challenge. You’ve got to do your work and practice, but giving you the strategy and showing you exactly how to implement it is what I do best. Once you’ve mastered the secrets of the Predictable Promotion System you can replicate them again and again and achieve a whole series of promotions and salary increases until you’ve reached the pinnacle of your dreams.Â Â
Are you ready to seize the day? If so, I invite you to take your career destiny into your own hands and work with me. I’ve designed a unique and innovative proprietary formula that gets results in 10 deliberate and incremental steps or stages. I’ve use this system to get myself multiple promotions in a large corporate structure, and I’ve also watched many of my corporate protÃ©gÃ©s apply it to get to the top level management positions where they are today. If you know in your heart that the time is right, I invite you to call me to explore my Predictable Promotion System to see why it may be the perfect fit for you in 2011!
Sarah Hathorn is a professional image consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author. Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the next level. Get your FREE Special Report – “5 Secret Strategies to Empower Your Professional Presence” at http://www.illustraimageconsulting.com/illustra_special_report.htm