The 3 factors that get people promoted at work

At DICE one of the things we get asked frequently to support clients with is getting a promotion at their work. This may be through a mentoring discussion or in our leadership development programmes. Most people believe that it is hard work alone that will get them there but in fact it is only 10% of the story.

According to Harvey Coleman, the author of “Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed” there are three factors that get people recognised and promoted at work, which are:

This is easily remembered if you think of the acronym PIE – Perform, Image, Exposure – and like a Pie chart with three parts, they are not all created equally! 

Coleman suggests that the foundation is your Performance but that is the smallest piece of the pie accounting for 10% of the reason you may get recognised. Being a star performer at work will help you to standout and get noticed, as will taking ownership of your performance plan. Develop a plan collaboratively with your line manager to make sure it aligns with their expectations. The plan should be aligned to the organisational objectives so that any improvements you are making yourself have a direct impact on the performance of the overall organisation. Challenge yourself and be prepared to take on greater responsibilities before the promotion or pay rise to show your commitment and dedication. 

The next chunk of the pie is Image at 30%. Coleman’s theory is that cultivating your image is paramount to achieving recognition. This involves maintaining a professional demeanour, dressing the part if appropriate to do so (time to dress for the job you want and not the one you have!), focusing on improving your verbal and non-verbal communication. Fostering teamwork and a positive attitude. Look and learn from others above you – seek out a mentor who may provide some valuable insights on how other people perceive you. Aligning your image with the expected behaviours for the next role is key.

The final chunk of the pie is Exposure at a whopping 60%, which is often referred to as visibility in the workplace. Being seen by the right people and being in the right places at the right times with the right manner is the key. Seek out opportunities to lead company events or activities, get involved in employee social activities, volunteer to take on something outside of your direct remit. Also don’t underestimate the value of external visibility – engage in professional organisations, seek opportunities to promote the organisation outside of your day job and get into the spotlight. 

DICE Co-Founder Kate Cousens recognises that all three of these components accounted for her career progression, and shares: “I hadn’t come across Coleman’s work when I was working in a career environment but what he shares in his book really resonates with me. I see it all of the time with clients now – they are working super hard and think that alone will get them to the next rung of the ladder but haven’t considered their own personal brand and image in being a factor. Getting known by the right people for the right reasons in an organisation is so important. I would always advise taking charge of your own personal development plan and seeking ways to play a larger leadership role outside of your day-job. There are always projects that the senior leadership team members are looking for support with and if you are there with your hand up ready, willing and able to help with the right attitude, your career will be elevated for sure!”.

If you are looking to develop in your career and would like some support either through coaching, mentoring, or leadership development – we can help. Get in touch for an informal chat. 

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