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John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    You Got the Promotion! Now What?

    Jake was elated. His COO had just called him into his office to give him the good news. The executive committee approved his promotion to VP of Client Services. This was the promotion he had been working towards for the past five years. It had even come a bit sooner than expected as his predecessor resigned several weeks ago to take a position with another company. He wanted to call his wife immediately to share the good news, but she was on an airplane returning from a west coast business trip. Instead he had to rush to pick up his two sons and take them to their after-school sports activities. He was scheduled to be on vacation over the next two days and looked forward to the long weekend to get his mind in gear and prepare to step into the new role. It would be effective one week from today and the announcement would go out on Monday.

    As he was sitting watching his sons’ practice, he decided to call Candace, a colleague and VP in another division of the company. She had been gracious enough to mentor him through some politically dicey challenges over the past year, and he wanted to confidentially share the good news. When she answered the phone, he could tell by her tone that she already knew. She congratulated him right off the bat and laughed at his surprise. “Don’t you realize that we know these things before they happen?” she said. “You’ve moved to a new level of the organization that operates differently from the level you were at. That’s why I was able to help you navigate that client issue six months ago.” Jake thought for a moment, his mind racing to figure out what he didn’t understand about how that situation worked out. Candace continued, “You’re going to gain a new perspective now. You’ve been on the outside looking in, and now you’ll be on the inside looking out. It’s a totally different view.”

    When Jake shared the great news with his wife Judy later that evening, he was a bit more subdued. She noticed this and quickly tempered her excitement, asking him how he was feeling. He recounted his conversation with Candace and murmured that for the first time, he realized he didn’t know what he didn’t know about the role. Judy understood his uneasiness. She had just been promoted a year earlier to a senior role in her company. The new position had become more challenging than she anticipated, not because of lack of technical skills, but because of the expectations that went with it. She recounted to Jake the increased demands on her time, the different interpersonal dynamics, she even had to make adjustments to her wardrobe and ensure she kept her car washed frequently (which was a challenge given they lived on a dirt road). She reminded him that this was why she finally gave in and hired a cleaning service for their home and shifted the monthly bill paying to him. Jake chuckled as he realized that all this was happening, and he didn’t really understand why.

    Though Jake intended to use the next few days to catch up on some projects around the house, he instead decided to invest in a handyman and called Candace’s office to try to find an hour on her calendar before the weekend was over. He recognized he needed to spend time preparing for this coming Monday. Though their responsibilities were different there were enough similarities within the company that he knew he could learn from her. When they met late on Friday afternoon, he had already done some preparatory reading and developed a list of questions for their conversation. He hoped that gathering these answers about her position would inform him about him about his own role.

    1. Who are the stakeholders? What are their priorities and positions regarding key business decisions and issues?
    2. What roles and people do you interact with the most? And on what types of topics?
    3. Describe “a day in the life” of this position.
    4. What types of meetings are on your calendar on a weekly basis?
    5. How do your priorities shift on a daily/weekly basis?
    6. What will you be criticized for? What will you be complimented for?
    7. What are the tensions you face due to the coexistence of conflicting demands?
    8. What aspects of the role and responsibilities are volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous?
    9. What experience and information are most critical to success in the role?
    10. What strengths do you uniquely bring to the role?
    11. How do you prioritize family with your work responsibilities?
    12. What is the most significant personal shift you had to make once you assumed your role?

    Candace smiled when she saw the list. She was grateful that he was prepared to make the most of their time together, even though there were a lot of questions.

    Jake knew there was a risk in asking such questions because he would be admitting some things that he didn’t know. As he looked at senior leaders across his company, he always felt they presented themselves as being very self-assured, always knowing what to do. But he also recognized the need for a mentor because his success in the role would be aligned with getting results for the organization. So, he decided to be transparent and have authentic conversations about it.

    On Monday morning as Jake walked into the office, the lightness in his step wasn’t so much excitement about the promotion, as it was the anticipation of what he would learn and how he could contribute to the team. He got the promotion, and now he knows his next steps.


    Copyright 2019 Priscilla Archangel

    Photo credit: Shutterstock

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