Seal the Inside Deal: Career Advancement Mindsets

Do you have the right mindsets to sustain and advance your career? I’m writing a new book for employed folks who want to increase visibility and promotability (is that a word?) by applying the core concepts from Seal the Deal internally in their organization.  Here’s a sneak preview, and I’d love your thoughts and comments!  Who knows?  You may even be a contributor to my new book!  If you could wave a magic wand and have whatever you want in your career/job/work, what would you want?  What do you dream of that doesn’t seem possible?  Is it a promotion? A raise? A more exciting set of projects? A chance to contribute? To be heard? To make a difference in the world? Let me know!  Comment below!

10 Critical Mindsets to Seal the Inside Deal:

1.  Leadership is critical to advancing your career. If you are not leading your career and paying attention to your own advancement opportunities, why should your boss or anyone else be your champion?  Have you felt passed over for a promotion or wondered why your boss didn’t showcase your work to the CEO? Are you waiting for someone else to recommend you to the Board or highlight your achievements to the team of decision-makers who determine career ladder moves?  You must be the leader of your own career.  To that end, becoming a student of leadership, regardless of your position of authority or lack thereof in your company, is a mindset that will serve you in moving yourself up the ladder.
2.  Authenticity is about being yourself and being true to yourself throughout your career.  Integrity, honesty, knowing what matters, and aligning your actions with your commitments is all part of getting noticed.  There will be no shortage of mentors and advice-givers who tell you that to be advanced to the C-suite you need to do certain things, act a certain way, or be more like somebody else.  None of this is true. You simply need to be the best YOU you can be, and that means realistically assessing your strengths, knowing your unique value proposition (what can you contribute), and reveling in being yourself.
3.  Self-Awareness is about owning your power, which is a key piece of the self-mastery puzzle that distinguishes a great leader from an exceptional leader.  There are always areas of ourselves that we are blind to (that we don’t know we don’t know about ourselves), or that we cannot see from our point of view.  Cultivating and increasing your self-awareness will give you the vulnerability and resilience to stand your ground when you know you are right and to step back and learn with a beginner’s mind when you uncover one of your blind spots. Coaches are extremely powerful partners in improving your self-awareness by holding up a mirror and allowing you the safe place to reflect upon potential blind spots and exercise and strengthen new muscles in vulnerability.
4.  Self-Confidence is also something that coaches are great at helping you master.  In any kind of economy, whether it’s a bear market or more bullish, self-confidence is important to your success.  Here’s a quick and easy test of your self-confidence level.  Stand in front of your bathroom mirror and look yourself in the eye.  See if you can genuinely connect with the person you see in that mirror.  Is extended eye-contact awkward?  Is speaking to that person painful? Can you look into that person’s eyes and see their soul? When you can unconditionally love, accept, and connect with that person, you are well on your way to confident!
5.  Generosity/Transparency: Generosity is not simply about giving money or gifts, because in many situations that would be considered unethical business activity (like bribes).  In this case, generosity is about a spirit of giving and a focus on helping others to succeed without a tit-for-tat mentality.  Generosity can be about listening impactfully to another, and it can be about being a Go-Giver. Transparency is about not having any hidden agenda whatsoever, and about sharing everything with those around you in service to a common goal or higher purpose.
6.  Indispensability is one way to keep yourself employed no matter what’s going on in the company or the world.  Become critical to the future of the company.  Connect your actions and results to the key objectives of the organization, and be sure to be visible about doing so!  Are there more efficient processes and systems that could subsequently result in cost savings for the company? Lead the charge…become branded (known for) doing something important for the company that nobody else currently does.
7.  Networking is a topic I could write an entire book about.  But for the purposes of a short blog post, this is the crucial element of your career whether applied internally or externally, whether you are self-employed or employed.  The most powerful vehicle for networking both inside your company and out in the world is the Informational Interview.  It’s the fastest, most effective way to get a roadmap of how to best navigate the political landscape of your particular organization. Of course, keeping in mind the Nine Mindsets of Networking is important, too!
8.  Marketing is not something you tend to think about with respect to your job unless you are in a marketing role in your company.  Marketing internally is about increasing your visibility, whether through volunteering efforts, through internal informational interviews, or by strategically targeting the most influential players and building coalition with them.
9.  Sales inside?  No, I don’t mean the cliche of selling yourself.  That’s not useful. Nobody is buying YOU.  They are buying the promise of what results you can produce.  In that sense you are selling a relationship.  You are selling trust and confidence in your ability to have positive business impact. This requires a clear and compelling offer, a baseline ability to impact the business results that matter most, and metrics to prove it!
10. Integration is about pulling it all together.  It’s not sufficient to operate from only one or a few of the above listed mindsets.  All must be working together in concert to seal your success. The surefire way to be a rockstar in your own career is to be uniquely you, own your voice, and master integrating the mindsets discussed here as applied to your particular job and circumstances. This is about using your own personality and strengths to skyrocket to the highest level of influence and impact you dare to dream possible!
©2008 Suzi Pomerantz. All rights reserved.

Comments (13)

As simple as it sounds, all of what you have written is great advice. The only thing I would add, is that we work to refine our leadership skills and often neglect many of the things you mention. As an example, I think all of them tie together under the realm of internal politics. I learned the in a very hard way that being good at what you do sometimes isn’t enough. Occassionally, there is that time when a good connection in the organization can make something happen; or, perhaps more importantly, pull something out of the fire. Yes – do you work, lead, produce, create – but, cultivate relationships inside and outside of your organization – they are future chips when you might just have to go ‘all in.”

Suzi, Great post! I loved reading about your upcoming book. Martin Wenger

1. Leadership:
Many employees don’t know their own power. Oftentimes, you’re being noticed … even when you don’t think so.
There are 4 types of employees: those who lead in a positive way, those who lead in a negative way, those who detract/derail in a group dynamic and those who will follow one of the first two. Your boss knows which one you are. Do you?

2. Authenticity:
When I was in sales, a rookie salesperson joined the organization and tried to imitate others who were seen as successful. It’s one thing to follow best practices, but he was parroting; saying and doing things that were not “him.” When he gave up this technique and began to settle into his own skin and be true to himself, great success followed. Today, he a very successful sales manager.

3. Self-Awareness:
I see many people who are clearly an asset to their organization, yet lack the self-confidence that they are such. What is your unique ability? What strengths can you strengthen? (Ask those around you, what strengths you possess. You may be surprised to discover how others perceive you.) Make a list of the qualities that make you an asset and review it daily.

4. Self-Confidence:
Regularly reviewing your list of positive attributes is a great confidence booster. When I think of confidence, I think of decisiveness. Are you a decision-maker or do you prefer to defer?

5. Generosity/Transparency:
This is a test of most peoples’ traditional beliefs. It seems that too many of us are “keeping score.” Keeping score is way too much work. I’d much rather be a giver, trust in the Universe and believe in Karma. This is so freeing.
As a salesperson, I always put my clients’ needs before my own and, in the end, the Universe paid me back in spades. 70% of my business became that of repeat and referral clients.

6. Indispensability:
We’ve all heard that “No one is indispensable.” While that may be true, it is certainly possible to be viewed as one of your company’s greatest assets — therefore, leaving the boss to wonder what he’d ever do without you.
Taking on leadership and positively influencing those around you goes a long way in securing your position. This may include training others on how to do your job. Some folks are information hoarders for fear of becoming dispensable. On the contrary, when someone is qualified to take your place, that will free you up to move up. This approach/mentality calls on your self-confidence and generosity.

7. Networking:
It’s all about who you know. Connecting and sharing with others has opened so many doors for so many people — I just cannot imagine keeping to myself. When you invite others into your sandbox, they bring with them more tools, ideas, creativity, and their own group of friends (connections).

8. Marketing:
I see this relating to self-awareness. Know what your unique abilities, talents, skills and strengths are — ask those around you, for their perception of what you bring to the table. You may even ask others — including your boss — “What can people always count on me for?”
This is a great start, since you’ll be reminding others of what makes you marketable and you’ll be learning some new things about yourself.

9. Sales:
I’m hearing “enrollment.”

10. Integration:
Mastering all 10 and having them work in concert begins with an awareness. Go to work first, on the areas where you’re the least strong — then the rest will get easier from there.
This would be a great way to start each day — choose only 1 of these mindsets to focus on each day (perhaps each week). The biggest mistake would be trying to take on all 10 at once.

Wow, everyone! Thanks for these great comments! It’s all about relationships and mastering the art of building coalitions. So often we think at work if we just buckle down and do our job that’s the best thing we can do. That’s just the baseline of what’s expected! The only way to distinguish ourselves on the job is to do more than simply be the best at what we do…it’s about BEING someone real and genuine and standing out from the crowd by being your best self.

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