How to Get Promoted at Work & Move Up the Ladder

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Winning" by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you actively trying to get promoted? What can you do to improve your chances?

Getting a promotion, whether it’s for the pay or glory, is most employees’ goal. It shows that your hard work has finally paid off and that you’re appreciated at your company.

If you want to learn how to get promoted at work, keep reading.

How to Improve Your Chances of Promotion

In Winning, Jack Welch argues that getting promoted often requires a fair amount of luck, but there are some things you can do to improve your chances. Here’s his advice on how to get promoted at work:

Expand your role: One major way to increase your chances of getting a promotion is to expand your position to include more responsibilities. This will help you prove your value to the company and stand out from the crowd. For example, if you’re a salesperson looking to become a sales manager, you could expand your role by coming up with a new sales strategy that everyone can use. 

(Shortform note: Though expanding your role may make you a more valuable employee, some argue that the best way to increase your value is to focus on your most vital tasks. In Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy says there are likely three tasks that account for most of the value you contribute at work. To perform at your best, he says you should focus as much of your time and energy on these three tasks as possible, which would run counter to Welch’s advice to take on responsibility for more tasks.)

Embrace change: Since adapting to change is crucial in business, employees who embrace change are more likely to receive promotions. Quickly and wholeheartedly embracing the new project or initiative your company is implementing is a surefire way to impress your bosses and prove your worth. 

(Shortform note: Embracing change has become so vital to a company’s success that some companies employ an executive whose job is to foster change throughout the organization: a chief transformation officer (CTO). Experts point to certain qualities a CTO should have: They should be an independent thinker willing to challenge the status quo, have high emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, and inspire others with enthusiasm. If you wish to impress your manager and get promoted, you might consider emulating these qualities.)

Seek out advice from multiple mentors: Welch says you should seek out advice from as many mentors as you can, both formal and informal. By gathering as much useful information as you can, you’ll stand out from the crowd. You might have one person who fits the classic mentor mold (an older, more experienced person in your industry that you meet with regularly), but you should also look for advice from people younger than you, people outside your work, and anywhere else you can find it. 

(Shortform note: While studies show that formal mentors are common among business elites, experts note that we learn from formal and informal mentors throughout our lives. Just as you learned from multiple people growing up (your mother, father, siblings, teachers, friends, and so on), if you wish to advance your career, you should seek out advice from as many sources as possible. To do this, psychologists recommend that you reach out to those you admire and develop relationships with them. More often than not, they’ll be happy to share their knowledge and help you on your journey. When developing such a relationship isn’t an option, simply observe those you admire and learn from their words and actions.)

How to Get Promoted at Work & Move Up the Ladder

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Jack Welch and Suzy Welch's "Winning" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Winning summary:

  • Business advice from one of the best-known corporate leaders in the US
  • How to win the business world, whether you own a business or work for one
  • Advice such as how to hire effectively and how to adapt your company

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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