Two Techniques to be Noticed and Grow in your Organisation

Key changes people can adopt and approaches to ensure getting promotions and growing in organisations

Two Techniques to be Noticed and Grow in your Organisation

A lot of people have asked me the questions…

“How do organisations ensure that people grow within and get promoted?”

“What should employees do to ensure that they develop their skills and capabilities to grow in their organisations?”

…and so on.

You will hear a lot of things from a lot of people on how to ensure this growth... Things like taking more responsibilities, undergoing training programs, getting more exposure to new things and so on and so forth…

I always tell them that there are only TWO ways to ensure that you grow up the hierarchy and achieve your career objectives.

1. Practice the “CLEAR YOUR PLATE” philosophy


What does it mean?

Simply speaking, it means that you need to ensure that your “plate” is clear at all times. Let me illustrate…

Consider that you are eating a meal and have 10 different items on your plate and the plate is full.

You can ‘eat’ more than this only if your plate has more space i.e. you clear the food from your plate. To do this you have two options:

1. Eat the food (thereby making more space there)

2. Move the food from your plate to someone else’s i.e. enhancing the space available to you on your plate (and hence creating opportunities to consume more quantity and variety or items)

In the organisation and work context, this means that you need to fulfill the expectations from you on time and ensure that your work (plate!!!) is clear and complete so that more of it can be assigned to you.

Your boss will assign more work/responsibilities to you only if he/she sees that you are in a habit of clearing your “plate” at all times.

On the other hand, if you are a person who habitually leaves things incomplete or delayed for one reason or another, your boss will not have the confidence to assign more work to you.

Why is this so??

Put yourself in the shoes of your manager. Would you assign work to a team member who cannot be relied on? Who doesn’t give due importance to work? Who delays assignment submissions?

Answers to most of these would be NO!!!

Having said this, it doesn’t mean that you ‘push’ your work blatantly to others.

You need to complete your part in the entire work flow WITHIN the stipulated timeline and THEN pass it to the next person who is required to process the activity after you. This next person could be your peer in the same/another department, or your senior (for feedback/approvals etc.), or your junior whom you delegate work to.

If the work needs to be delegated to your team member, you need to ensure that he/she understands all aspects of the work and is able to complete it on time.

The important thing is to understand that the work activity needs to be completed fully and ON-TIME!!!

So how does it lead to YOUR career growth?

Through the second method of “Making Your Boss Redundant”.

Consider an organisation hierarchy with a CEO at the top, GM next in line, Sr Manager at the next level, Manager at the fourth level, Executive at the fifth level and so on.

Each of these persons have some work activities on their respective “plates”.

The Sr Manager needs to ensure that he/she clears his/her own plate as illustrated above and asks his/her boss (the GM) for more work.

This new work needs to be something that is on the GM’s plate and that he/she is usually responsible for.

Asking for more work ensures that the Sr Manager is progressively taking on more and more of his/her boss’s responsibilities freeing up the boss’s time.

In this manner, as the GM’s plate gets empty, he/she in turn needs to seek more work from his/her boss i.e. the CEO.

In the situation where the GM is not able to take on more work from the CEO — since he/she has not bothered to clear his/her plate — he/she risks becoming redundant. The option that the GM has is to either “shape up” or “ship out”.

This process is applicable at all levels and all functions in the organisation.

Like the exchange of work between the Sr Manager and GM, the Manager also needs to ensure that he/she is “clearing his/her plate” and seeking more work from the Sr Manager. If the Sr Manager is not able to clear his/her plate and becomes a bottleneck, he/she has to in-turn either “shape up” of “ship out”.

When each person in the organisation clear their plates and actively seek work from their bosses, it leads to:

  1. Improvement in overall organisational performance and
  2. Increased productivity… thereby leading to organisational growth

Such further and ongoing increase in organisational growth requires more capable, and more responsible people to move up the hierarchy. This in turn leads to growth for the internal people to up the hierarchy.

Beyond a threshold this becomes cyclic and self-sustaining in nature.

Is this as simple as presented here?

Definitely not!!

These initiatives at the individual levels need to be supported by the team, the business, and the organisation as a whole. The CEO and business heads need to ensure that they have:

  • Necessary frameworks and reporting systems to ensure that work gets distributed to the right people constantly
  • Nobody’s dropping the ball on such work allocation/delegation
  • All managers and supervisors are monitoring what’s happening in their teams regularly

An organisation which does not support (and doesn’t have a method) to encourage such initiatives by the team would leave the team dejected and forlorn and with no alternative but to exit.

To avoid this outcome the organisation becomes the “growth driver” and necessitates that the business grows.

Business owners and CEOs who are mindful of such imposed demands on themselves would evolve to ensure that their businesses keep on growing.

The two strategies given above have a potential of creating win-wins for the business, and the organisation and teams within if managed well.

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