Every young executive has the position they are in for a reason. The reasons are always based on performance. Ok, let’s get back to reality for a second. Climbing the corporate ladder can be a daunting task. Sometimes promotions happen that just don’t make sense. It’s like the blind leading the blind!
The Peter Principle
The “Peter Principle” has been around for years. This theory suggests that people who do good jobs are rewarded with promotions to the next level up. As the executive performs at a higher level, they are awarded another promotion until they reach a job that they are not competent to do. Now they don’t deserve a promotion and as a result, stay in the position at which they are incompetent.
This particular strategy happens more than you think. Maybe you are working for someone who you think isn’t competent for the role they are in. Maybe you are the Peter Principle? Either way, if you don’t make a change it could be made for you.
The political environment in a large company is very fluid. Power shifts happen and sometimes due to the strangest reasons. Be careful about how and who you hitch your wagon to. Many times the “ladder climbers” focus is to become friends with everyone. In times of change, they abandon these friendships and many times won’t even offer an apology for ignoring you on their rise or when they throw you under the bus!
How New Skill Sets Are Threatening
You are bright and very talented, that alone makes you a threat to insecure senior executives. An up and coming person who displays new skills can threaten a long-term executive that has any degree of insecurity while others thrive on recognizing and growing talent in the organization. Be sure you know who these two groups are.
Don’t mistake frankness for political alignment. Also, make sure you know where you want to be in the organization and then let top superiors know this, not the ones you’re competing with. Seek out training that matches where you want to be in the company.
From the employers perspective creating performance-based compensation is essential to attract and retain talent. It becomes another binder between employer and employee.
Climbing the ladder is best when you believe in the company’s mission and vision. Make sure you’re clear on this and its value to you. There is a turning point in life when you wake up one day and realize you don’t believe in the mission of the company anymore yet you are economically trapped. That’s a terrible position in life. It stifles creativity and life’s satisfaction.
Every promotion entails new tasks, risks, responsibilities and new perspectives. Do your research so you are clear about what they mean to you.
Mission & Vision of Life and Career
There is power and life happiness when we are living a dynamic lifestyle. A significant key to this is planning for financial independence.
Earning great money in a large organization can sometimes be at the cost of not having a life with family and friends. Learning how much time and energy you can give to the company is a balancing act of knowing what it takes for you to live a life of fulfillment and happiness. After ten years you might succeed in the company, but if you lose yourself or your family, how valuable is the investment you made in your career?
Live well below your means. Save and invest wisely. Learn to develop passive income streams and leverage your capital. Take advantage of compensation packages that allow for stock purchases as long as you are not planning for them to be a sole source of income or retirement.
Growing up, my grandfather would say, “One should go to work for a large company so they can take care of you at retirement time.” That’s not the reality of today.
Retirement isn’t about age any more nor should anyone stay with a company they don’t believe in. I set some employees free because they came into the job thinking it was for them only to find out they couldn’t do the work. I still get calls and emails from some of them telling me thanks for letting them go because it allowed them to be free to find their passion. Many stay in the position because they are economically trapped vs. being free. They are typically average contributors.
I’ve seen young executives change jobs frequently and the only reason is they got a little more money. Be mindful about being a nickel jumper in your career where you jump from one job to another for a bit more money.
Establishing yourself as a professional requires an understanding of the business environment that changes. Learn to improve with it. Be a champion of change. Determine what you want and are good at. There are plenty of companies wanting to hire and grow talent, but the best opportunity for more responsibility and more money may be right at your fingertips.
If You are the Peter Principle
Revive your interest in learning more. Become a student of the business again and learn a new skill. Every company is looking for additional talent to grow the business. The new you might just be what your company is looking for.
If you’ve been hidden doing the same job for several years or are behind someone not being looked at favorably, then it is time to make a change before a change is made for you. Don’t let your creativity and energy die a slow death.
Get more training to challenge yourself. Talk to your manager about a pathway up or into a more usable position to regain your passion and creativity.