In the 80s and 90s, it was assumed that once someone joined a company, worked extremely hard and paid their dues, climbing up the ladder would be automatic. These were the unwritten rules of the game.
However, they no longer apply to the dynamically changing corporate landscape.
Competence and skill are no longer enough to make it to the top. Nonetheless, one thing still remains constant, most professionals still seek growth and peer approval, even if done more laterally.
What is the corporate world?
In a nutshell, the corporate world encompasses business enterprises in the private sector where employers maintain multi-tier management structures.
In contrast to government jobs or self-employment where one reports directly to the business owner, corporate employees report directly to a manager or supervisor.
Enterprises in the corporate world are generally considered stable with good continuity and a defined structure with room for career progression. They also comprise of specific trivial features like office politics, nepotism, bonuses and even management issues.
Tips to climb the corporate ladder quickly
1. Have a plan
Identify what your goals are to determine what it takes to get there. In fact, it is recommended to make both short-term and long-term goals. One possible approach to setting milestones and deadlines is to break down big goals into small components. By doing so, you’ll have a clear mental blueprint that will allow you to stay focused and motivated.
2. Work on your interpersonal skills
Endeavour to purposely build a vast network and develop the patience to deal with diverse characters. These interpersonal skills will come in handy as some people might rub you the wrong way with their manners, work too slow or fast, or demonstrate arrogance.
Regardless, smile often, handle conflict well, and learn to greet others more often. Unfortunately, technical expertise alone is not sufficient to rise up corporate ranks.
3. Participate in corporate training in your organisation
Engage in corporate training opportunities whenever you get the chance to. Remember that your corporate skills and knowledge could be a valuable resource to others.
Corporate training can help you build extracurricular skills outside the remit of your job. And by doing this, you potentially open yourself up to more opportunities, like mentoring opportunities.
4. Develop leadership skills
Develop leadership skills and knowledge to supplement your expert status and credibility in your field. Leadership skills will allow you to take on additional responsibility without complaining about the lack of immediate reward. In essence, they will enable you to always project maturity to your peers.
5. Discuss solutions rather than problems
Most employees are great at identifying issues, roadblocks and bottlenecks. So, to stand out, try to go deeper and seek corrective action. This necessitates a thoughtful review of viable solutions to problems. Thus, demonstrating a problem-solving mindset.
6. Have a mentor inside and outside your company
Find multiple mentors both inside and outside your organisation. Mentors help navigate the uncharted waters of corporate politics and the competitive pressures of the corporate world.
7. Prioritise organisational goals before your own dreams
To become an asset to your organisation, always prioritise its goals. You can do this by continuously striving to upskill yourself to be of more value to the organisation.
Also, continually seek to know the under-workings of projects within the organisation, who is in charge of those projects, and what priorities are high or low. This will allow you to find areas you can be of help to advance the company’s goals.
8. Be a team player
Supervisors always look out for employees that work well with others. This is because the ability to partner with and influence others is a skill required increasingly to move up in any organisation.
9. Work hard (and then some more)
Unfortunately, there is no direct substitute for hard work and smart work. Always strive to give the best of yourself with whatever task you are given. In fact, treat everything with urgency and even volunteer for high-visibility projects. With an attitude that always seeks to contribute more, you will always be regarded as a go-to person or the get-it-done person.
10. Networking is crucial
Great networking underpins most corporate progression. Exploit your corporate network as much as possible to progressively climb up the ladder.
In fact, networking does not end once you have the job. The more people you know, the better for you, whether online or offline.
Broad networks always open you up to bigger employment or promotion opportunities.
Despite the limitations of your job description, endeavour to diligently execute whatever is assigned to you. By the same token, always ask what else you can do to be helpful across your organisation. Even in other departments or on another project.
Also, pay attention to how your superiors act, manage, delegate, and communicate. Then emulate their behaviour. Remember, the more people in your network, the better your career progression. Lastly, always be a team player.
Co-founder and Managing Director
Stuart Harris, co-founder of Growth Academy Asia, has a vast background in corporate events and learning & development. As co-founder and managing director at Team Building Asia, Stuart has developed a large network of international clients over the past 20 years and brought an innovative perspective to the more traditional elements of team building, which lead to the founding Growth Academy Asia. With GAA, he aspires to disrupt the L&D industry with the immersive VR organisational and leadership programmes.