Most office environments have a culture of performance evaluation. You’re usually evaluated against your coworkers, so you end up being ranked either bottom bucket, middle bucket or top bucket.
If you’re okay being anything other than top bucket then you should stop reading this blog now and go to LinkedIn because you need to find a new job. You should be in a place that makes you want to be the best. And assuming you’re there, this post will clearly explain how to succeed.
Top bucket performers receive the earliest promotions and the largest bonuses. And there’s literally only ONE THING you need to do to become a top performer and earn a promotion.
But I can’t tell you that quickly can I?
Let me first explain the three types of people in the workforce:
- There are interns.
- There are employees.
- There are executives.
These three levels of individuals are classified that way because it allows for stratification. It enables hierarchy on organizational charts, expected norms for salaries, as well as social and cultural expectations within the company.
A healthy org chart looks like a Christmas tree, where people at the top manage few key individuals, upper and middle management have more direct reports, and then towards the bottom junior people manage only a person or two if at all.
But in startups, the org chart often looks like a menorah instead, where almost everyone reports into one senior leader. This is inefficient and unhealthy.
Until certain people stand out from the pack it’s usually how things go. The way to stand out is to become a top bucket performer.
So how do you stand out and excel beyond your title and experience?
Earning a Promotion Isn’t About Doing Your Job Well, It’s About Doing Your Boss’ Job Well
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Years ago I heard a simple explanation of the difference between interns, employees and executives.
At the start of an intern’s week they’ll say, “What 10 things should I be doing?”
At the start of an employee’s week they’ll say, “Give me 10 things to do so I can complete those tasks successfully and efficiently.”
At the start of an executive’s week they’ll say, “I’ve taken a look at the company, and I have 10 suggestions for how we can improve in areas X, Y and Z and a step-by-step action plan to execute each solution.”
Notice the difference?
Top bucket people think and speak the language of an executive. They preemptively identify problems and opportunities for improvement, and then come to others only when they have a finite set of solutions they believe can plug those holes.
That’s not because they’re qualified to do so, but because they understand the golden rule of organizational hierarchy. “Your job is to make your boss’ job easier.”
Assuming you work in a positive culture that fosters people’s growth, doing your boss’ job well will enable them to work on a higher level issue and pass along their responsibilities (and TITLE!) to you.
If you point out five problems to your boss, you’ve just created more work for him or her. If you don’t point out those five problems to your boss, you’ve allowed them to fail. It’s only when you both can identify problems others can’t see and then bring them a solution to the problem before they even knew it existed that you become a gamechanger. That’s when you become top bucket.
The sooner you understand that the sooner you will become a superstar
Now it’s your turn.
Go make an “executive-level” move in your own workplace this week. Identify and solve a problem for someone who didn’t even realize that issue existed, and let me know how it goes.
Please share whether you agree or disagree with this post in the comments below, as well as any tips you might have for others on how to earn their next promotion!