Dan Beverly

As a leadership and performance coach, my work with high-calibre, high-performing professionals focuses on the pivotal moments in a career. And so promotion is a strong recurring theme.

In my experience of coaching these successful individuals, I’ve noticed 4 stand-out truths that those who regularly secure promotion just get. Here’s what they know.

1. Decisions are made by decision makers

This self-evident statement of the obvious is at the top of my list because it’s apparently so easily forgotten by those in the throes of a promotion chase. And what I notice about those who take to heart and make peace with this fact is that their working lives are vastly improved over those who can’t or won’t accept the fact.

What’s important about this truth is then using it to bring attention and focus to the elements that can be influenced, as opposed to obsessing over those that cannot.

To keep that positive focus, successful people set performance goals.

2. I need to set my performance goals

As with so many business goals, our end goal (here, promotion) is seldom completely within our control. To combat this, successful people couple the End Goal with a Performance Goal.

A Performance Goal identifies the performance level we believe will provide us with the best chance of achieving the end goal. And distinct from an end goal, a performance goal will always be within our control.

Performance goals have the powerful effect of focusing us on the building blocks of, in this case, promotion, and save us from the enormity and overwhelm of the end goal. Performance goals give us 100% responsibility and generally provide an excellent means of measuring progress.

So couple your end goal with a performance goal.

3. It’s the other journey that matters

Successful people understand that pursuing promotion is two journeys. The first is about doing great work in the current role; in developing that role to prepare for the next; in being able to do the job and do it well.

The second journey is about putting oneself in the running. Yes, you can do the job – and so can many others. But those who ultimately win promotion are the ones who have a stellar reputation with the right people; who network with key people of influence; who have the big picture insight; whose contribution is directly linked to material business metrics; who excel in the “showcase” moments.

The second journey is the more important. And successful people get that.

4. What got me here won’t get me there

The final truth successful people realise is that to get to the next level takes something different from what they’ve been doing to date; not more of the same. As Marshall Goldsmith says in his book: “What got you here won’t get you there”.

Those successful in the promotion game find ways of developing an awareness of what they need to work on – do more of – do less of – to get to the next level. More often than not, it’s behavioural rather than technical. A coach can be a great asset in promoting the necessary awareness and responsibility. But also: a mentor. Someone who has been there and done that.

Find someone who can help you understand what needs to change.

Promotion winning strategies

You can do the job. I know that. You know that. But do they know that?

So focus on the journey that puts you in the running. Set performance goals. Work on your emotional intelligence. And get yourself a mentor. Or a leadership and performance coach. Of course.


  • Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (New York: Hyperion, 2007).
Dan Beverly

Dan Beverly is a leadership and performance coach helping high-calibre, high-performing professional women embrace the pivotal career moments.

To work with Dan, go online to book your complimentary “Session Zero” – and start capitalising on your pivotal career moment, today.