hat is it that takes you from there, up? Effective communication, a higher level of service, and a consistent
dedication to advancement are the three must-haves. This article breaks down the somewhat elusive aspect of effective commu-
nication into three categories: likeability, awareness, and focus. I have done almost everything I suggest wrong and then right, so
the points I cover here are very timely and personal. I would love to hear your input so that I can continue to learn from all of you.
So you got yourself a good job ­ great! You can work hard, make it known that you want advancement, and still see every-
one else moving up around you. "That's not fair!" many of us exclaim. Ok, if you really think that the promotions being hand-
ed out in your workplace are not fair, then document everything and contact human resources. But before reaching out
to your HR manager, read this article and then ask yourself a few questions: Are your newly promoted colleagues mak-
ing an extra effort to communicate frequently and effectively? Are they working harder and smarter? And are they shar-
ing their desires to advance--specifically with the boss? I'll bet you find that the people advancing have that extra "some-
thing." They are going over and above to "connect the dots" for their co-workers and managers; they are continually
demonstrating who they are as people and employees so that others can rely on them for consistent and excellent service.
So of course, hard work is essential. So is working "smart." That means that you regularly check in with your team and manag-
ers. This will show you to be conscientious and realistic ­ things change mid-stream and you don't want to waste your time
on an objective that may have changed this morning on some else's conference call. This is a form of that "extra" communica-
tion that connects the dots for everyone with whom you work. "No, no, no," Leslie, that's not true ­ if you do a good job, that is
enough and you should get advanced on a regular basis and
tion you want! You can be a brilliant engineer, but if
recognized for your good work. Sure! A great review is always
you want to be an executive you'll have to show exem-
nice and it may gain you advancement, but that's not the
plary communication skills and an ability to lead others.
"UP" I'm referring to. That does happen, but in almost all jobs
I can think of ­ even the most technical of jobs, other peo-
Every office, and for that matter every group of people, is
ple must want to work with you in order for you to advance.
different. It would be presumptuous for me to summarize
what you need to do in your office environment and indus-
The idea here is to be a participant in your career advance-
try to advance your career, unless I actually worked with
ment. There is no shame in getting to know your co-workers
you (hey reader, I thought you looked familiar!). So, the
and managers so well that you realize when one of them
purpose of this article is to help you figure out and imple-
has an opinion about what you are doing. This insight can
ment your own particular plan for advancing in your office
encourage you to check with them right away instead of
given the intricacies of the work at hand, the personalities
waiting to hear from them later. I've heard this behavior
of others, and your own self-inflicted obstacles to advance-
called "sucking-up" or "kissing up." I'm not talking about idle
ment. I must assume that you have a job where you can ad-
flattery here ­ I'm talking about managing how you are do-
vance ­if not, get out now before it sucks the life out of you.
ing, what you are doing and how it will affect your work
and the perceptions of you in your work environment.
continued on page 48.
Here's where the rubber meets the road; your abil-
ity to accurately interpret your environment and your
communication skills can help you achieve the promo-