10 Questions to Help Advance Your Career

By David Nour

Litmus TestThe only person responsible for your professional growth is you!

When you’re a candidate for a promotion that ends up going to a peer, are you left wondering, ‘‘Why him (or her) and not me? Why was she (or he) promoted to manage or lead a broader realm of responsibilities, but not me? Why, when I am the one who is more consistently and more recently invited to spend time with the boss, is he (or she) the one receiving the promotion?’’

If this has happened to you, I recommend you take some time for careful introspection regarding why you didn’t receive this growth opportunity. To do this effectively, I offer you a 10-point litmus test. Be candid when considering these points, and take some time for introspection:

  1. Have I demonstrated performance under pressure?
  2. Have I completed an initiative that clearly demonstrates my core strengths and capabilities?
  3. Have I consistently supported my colleagues by taking a genuine interest in their key initiatives and by helping them achieve quantifiable results?
  4. Are my communication skills, written and oral, as proficient as they could be?
  5. Have I consistently demonstrated the ability to confront others on issues with respect and to problem solve with decisiveness?
  6. Have I achieved a high degree of influence to reinforce the ability of proactively engaging others and getting things done?
  7. Have I supported my superiors by taking on difficult projects and offering value-based counsel?
  8. Have I succinctly defined my long-term goals and objectives, and do I have a road map of how my current and future activities will help me obtain my goals?
  9. Have I consistently completed prioritized assignments for others before completing my own? In other words, have I put other people’s projects ahead of my own?
  10. Have I established a strong personal brand of presence and utmost competence?

If you answered ‘‘no’’ to any of these questions, you may be prohibiting a potential promotion at your current organization. Sharp A-players realize sooner or later that you either move up or move out.

Make sure you take steps to move up whether within your current company or into another organization.


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