Feeling stuck to get a promotion? Here are 3 steps I took to score my promotion. 


A few years ago I felt ready to move onto the next level within my job. I felt monotonous at work, but I couldn’t find the way out. I was reaching a plateau with the nature of the work I was doing. I felt that I was achieving great results compared to my colleagues, but I saw others getting recognized and getting promoted quicker than I did.

I would often think to myself, “Why can’t I get promoted?”

My achievements were better yet I didn’t get a single bit of recognition. It was quite unfair. I wished I could be like them, but didn’t know how. I just wanted to get promoted faster.

I tried all the techniques of turning up to work early, being laser focused at work, taking initiative for the tasks that gets allocated to the team in the morning etc. I tried my best to take on as much work as possible to stand out from the crowd so that I can exceed the performance of those who have been in the career field longer than I have. It was actually quite satisfying and I believed I was making a difference in the company. I was totally wrong – it didn’t make a difference and my effort was NOT getting recognized.

I turned to the internet for help with the hope to find quality step by step instructions on how to get promoted quicker. There are actually heaps of advices available on the internet, but most are average and vague…

No wonder why so many people feel stuck and helpless, even if they have the motivation and drive to move on to the next step!

Since then, I have spent months and months researching and trialling different ways to get noticed and recognized.

I want to share with you the 3 steps that I have developed over the course of my research and testing that allowed me to score a promotion with a 38% pay rise.

1) Research: What is the company aiming to achieve, and what are they lacking? 

2) Execution: Achieve the results and provide value for the company. 

3) Get Recognised: Make your results stand out and negotiate for a promotion! 

This has worked for me multiple times thereafter and I have helped many people get ahead in their career progression and live a much more fulfilling life using this 3 step system.

Step 1 – Research

During this phase, we take our time to gather some critical information so that we can hone in our focus on the things that will get results FOR THE COMPANY. Notice how this is very different to my initial approach? I initially went for results that was FOR MY OWN self-satisfaction. It can be a waste of time doing things for self-satisfaction only to later realise that you brought no solid value to the company

So, how do we know what areas of business our company to focus on?

The quickest yet the most efficient way is to think back to what your boss/managers talks about on a weekly basis. Take the time to listen to what struggles the company is going through, or what goals the company is trying to achieve.

Example phrases might be:

“There is this really huge competitor that is trying to take our contract”

“We really need to find ways to retain our staff”

“Our sales are quite low for the last few months”

“We’re a bit far from our goal of 10 million in revenue this year”

Next, once you have a list of goals your company is trying to achieve, have a think about how these goals are measured? Step into the shoes of your boss/manager and note down what matrix they would use to measure this.

This might be staff retention rate of >90%, client/contract retention rate of 75% or more, client satisfaction scale of 90+/100, 150% increase in sales etc.

There are many more outcome measures a company may use for calculating success on the things that matters to them. We don’t want to get too caught up getting into the nitty gritty of how our boss may calculate XYZ, what precise formula they may have etc.

What is important is that you understand what THEY value, but also what THEY are currently lacking. That’s a very subtle shift in mindset, yet very powerful to allow you to focus on delivering results that the company values.

I encourage you to take 30 minutes to brainstorm what the company values. Note down as many points as you can that comes into mind. Then take another 30 minutes to pick out what value the company is currently lacking but want to achieve/improve.

Step 2 – Execution (allow yourself at least 3 months for this)

Once you have a clear idea of what the company values and how to measure the achievement, you need to take action to help the company reach this.

For example, if the company is trying to expand and reach a certain number of clients, then the number of clients you can get for the company will be the key. Are you able to get more clients if you have the network and connection? Are you able to get more clients based on how convincing your sales pitch is? Is the client increase dependent on the exposure the company has to the general public?

A year ago one of my friend noticed that his company is struggling to catch a larger customer base. He was feeling afraid that he will be made redundant due to the slow growth of the business. I challenged his mindset and asked him to see this as an opportunity to find the gap in the business and deliver an amazing result that will solve the company’s burning pain.

He found out that the current advertisement on newspapers and Facebook brought minimal growth to the company, and this advertisement campaign has been ongoing for the last 2 years. He decided to set up advertisements targeted at a different community with the intention to bring value to the business. In 3 months time, the client base of the business increased by more than 20% and, of course, he got recognized for his initiative and results. He got promoted to a higher role with a well-deserved pay rise that will benefit him for years to come.

Let’s look at another example just to get more ideas.

If a company is trying to improve the overall quality of the work of the team, then show initiative and take the lead. Start by improving the quality of the work that you do. This can range from customer service, punctuality, responsiveness to emails/calls, reliability to action requests, quality of the content delivered etc.

Instead of taking 2-3 business days to reply emails, can you reply emails in 1 business day?

Instead of replying your client’s email after everything is actioned on your side, can you email back first and let them know that you are working on this case, and to expect an email reply once you have the solution?

One important tip to remember: Make sure you still maintain a certain level professionalism, work ethics and the relationship with your colleagues and managers. In particular, make the effort to network with your manager and ensure that your effort is subtly noticed. Don’t hard sell or constantly tell them how good you are. It is great to take a initiative, but you don’t want to upset your manager unintentionally by coming across like a try hard trying to take over. 

The execution steps to achieve goals can vary depending on the industry and the company’s current goals. If you challenge yourself to actually brainstorm ideas (Step 1) and execute them (Step 2), you’re many steps ahead of your colleagues.

Take 30 minutes to plan out what strategies YOU can use to help your company achieve the goals and the outcome measures you have identified in step 1. 

Step 3 – Get Recognised!

Initially when you put in the hard work in Step 1 and 2, the only compliments you may get may be verbal. Phrases like great work, thank you, you’re a legend, excellent work there. It’s all the generic praises that leaders seem to be trained on giving.

Those verbal encouragements are definitely compliments and recognitions. However, as most of us tend to associate recognition with something solid – like a bonus, a promotion or a pay rise, we need to actually raise this to our boss’s attention.

It’s ok to want a job title that fits the amount of extra responsibilities we take on and a salary that reflects the amount of value we bring to the company. It is fine to think that we deserve a decent future for ourselves.

It is also important to acknowledge a disappointing truth as well:

Our boss is aware of our desire to be rewarded something tangible.

They know one of the most efficient way to make a staff feel valued is through a bonus, a promotion and/or pay rise. From a business point of view, if verbal appreciation and encouragements can do the trick, why should they spend the resources to promote and pay someone more? I think it’s fair and we really can’t blame them.

We simply need to acknowledge this disappointing truth, and work around it to achieve what we want. This is actually one of the most uncomfortable action you can do at a work place. There are many emotions that will pass through our mind when we think about this.

‘’I don’t want to sound too snooty or entitled”

“I don’t want to be seen as someone who is just in for the money”

“I am so scared to ask for a promotion. What will my boss think of me?”

Most of us seem to be born and raised up with a fear of failure and embarrassment mindset. We get so scared asking for a promotion or a pay rise, and we end up staying in the same spot for years. I had a really effective mindset shift that got me over this fear:

Focus on the reasons you can succeed instead of the reasons you can fail. 

We have done all the hard work researching into what our company values, what they want to achieve and what outcome they use to measure the achievement. We have had a detail plan on strategies and processes we can go through to reach the outcome they desire. We have given ourselves at least 3 months to perform at an extraordinary level to get the results that THEY want. Your manager knows about your performance as well. At this point, we have made ourselves stand out to become irreplaceable. If anyone was to be promoted or be recognized with monetary value, it is YOU.

To implement this mindset, write down the EXACT reasons you can succeed in getting this promotion. What goals have you achieved or would you have achieved by the end of these 3 steps? How have you or how will you stand out from your colleagues?

Finally, give it a go drafting an email to your boss to ask for a performance review!

It is a different game to actually ask for a performance review AND to nail a performance review and negotiate for a huge pay rise. Stay tuned for the strategies I used and tested to nail this performance review and salary negotiation!

Do you have any stories you can share about the struggles you’re experiencing to get the promotion you want? Leave a comment below and share! Or email me at eric@growthandcareer.com. 

Not sure when to ask for the promotion, or what to write to ask for the promotion? Sign up now to receive your free PDF email template on how I scored a promotion with 38% pay rise!