At the end of every trial there is a segment that I have always been intrigued by. It is the time when both sides have the final say in making their case. That segment is called summation.
The correct legal definition is:
The final argument of an attorney at the close of a trial in which he/she attempts to convince the judge and or/jury the virtues of the client’s case.
During my corporate days, I would always advise employees that our careers should be based on the same. When the time comes for a promotion or raise, what is your argument?
What can you base your reasoning on? You have to convince someone of your ability. You are representing yourself and you make the case.
Entitlement vs. Making the case
So many times, we get caught up in the “I am next in line” or the entitlement mindset which is not the case for anyone getting to the next level. At each level of attainment, there is or should be a list of accomplishment which is the ticket to get through the toll gate.
Every person should keep what I call a success list, which is a list of accomplishments they have produced within a certain time frame.
The reason this is important is that if you had to recite what you have accomplished during the past 12 months, the vast majority of us could not do it. We would be searching mentally trying to come up with accomplishments.
Throughout the year at the completion of every success, we note it in our journal, spreadsheet etc. This way it allows us to capture its freshness in the spur of the moment.
We have to stay in the mindset that we have to document and have evidence to back up our request whether it is for a promotion or a raise.
Not a reason for promotion
We are hired based on a job description. That job description list all the requirement that we are supposed to accomplish in that role. However just because we do each one of those bullets, it does not mean that we are therefore eligible for anything beyond that. The reason is that is what we were hired to do what was listed.
So always keep in mind that you must grow the job beyond what is listed and this is where your success list comes into play. If you are in growth mode, that is you are looking to be promoted, you must use this method. If you are not and just want to be compensated accordingly, then you still use the same method.You have to make the business case as to the value you bring to your role and the organization. This has nothing to do with “politics”, this is a strategic approach to looking at your job or career. If your organization works from the framework of politics, then you are in the wrong culture if you do not feel like playing that game. However even if that is the case, you still work from the premise that you must prove yourself worthy of moving forward.
Ask for the hot seat
Ask for power to take decisions when the opportunity presents itself. With authority, you will get additional responsibilities. That gives you more opportunity to demonstrate achievements. Your request also marks you out as a person hungry for work. To get more authority, you will need to earn it from your boss and the organization. Invest in building that trust so that there is little risk to your boss in giving decision making powers to you.
Explain how you will mitigate the risk of something going wrong in your exercise of power. Highlight the benefits of what you can achieve for your employer when you take decisions and save them time. After you have succeeded with your new found authority, your case for promotion becomes rock solid.
However, to get promoted you need to learn not only how to manage the team reporting to you but also how to manage upwards. Like you have established a strong working and inter-personal chemistry with your team, have you done the same with your boss and other managers? We all know that trust is a 2-way street, so this is an important component because this relationship can make you or break you.
Spend time understanding the person reporting to you. Try and figure out what if any issues that keeps them up at night. Your role in this equation is to become the problem solver. If someone were asked to describe you, the perfect response would be to be seen as a “solution provider”.
While these suggestions are not carved in stone, use these as a framework to guide your career.
Because in the end you are like the lawyer in the court room at the end of the trial.
YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE CASE