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Career Advancement


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Inventories to to help gather information, assess points-of-view, and clarify attitudes

1. Work Satisfaction: Assess your level of work satisfaction

2.  Career Advancement: A self-appraisal to gain insight into your career advancement potential

3. Contributorship: A tool to assess your feelings about work

4. Team Participation Preferences: A self-assessment to gain insight into how you prefer to interact on teams

5. Needs Assessment: A process that you can you to analyze team issues, needs, and problems

6. Decision Making Self Assessment: Are you an effective decision maker?

7. Team Trust Inventory: Ten questions to assess team trust levels

8. Workplace Values Inventory: A self-assessment of your personal workplace values

9. Interpersonal Skills Inventory: Identify and evaluate your skills

Are You Positioned for Advancement?

Career advancement isnít something that happens ďout of the blue.Ē  Rather, it is a process of hard work, planning, and a good dose of self-promotion.  This means that you have to strengthen your ďpromotableĒ characteristics. 

The Career Advancement Inventory below may give you an idea of your advancement strengths and limitations.  It is divided into two core areas of focus:

A. Self-ManagementóThese are areas that you work to manage your career.  They are personal characteristics that are your responsibility to direct, change, and reshape.

B. PromotabilityóThis focus area has three components:

  • People: Your ability to connect positively with others

  • Productivity: Your skills and capacity to perform at another level

  • Potential: Your ability to deliver, get things done, and self-organize

Directions--Appraise each one for yourself using the following continuum: 5 = very strong; 4 = strong; 3 = average; 2 = needs some attention; 1 = weak.  Scoring Guidelines follow the Inventory.

Self Management

5  4  3  2  1

Intentions  As simple as it sounds, you have to let the right people know that you want to move forward in the company.  Let them know that you are ready and anxious to move ahead.

5  4  3  2  1

Capacity  Convey sincerely to your boss what you feel are your strengths, work skills, and career potential.  Donít be pushy or sound like a braggart, but be clear that you have the ability to move forward.

5  4  3  2  1

Goals  A successful career path requires a clear understanding of what you want out of work.  It is wise to not only write out your career goals, but also revisit them regularly.  Donít hesitate to talk to others about your goals.  Remember that consistent and focused career path action wonít happen without a clear idea of where you want to go

5  4  3  2  1

Networking  Develop a career network both internally and externally.  In house, take time to nurture connections with colleagues, particularly those in the areas where you want to go.  Externally, take the time to get involved with professional groups and organizations.  Keep your ears open.   Donít hesitate to volunteer some of your time and energy.




5  4  3  2  1

Team Player  To advance you will need to be a good team player.  This means working skillfully and productively with your colleagues.  Be known as a person who contributes to his/her team and, just as importantly, as a person who values the contributions of his/her team members.

5  4  3  2  1

Humor  Donít forget your sense of humor.  It not only will help you relieve the tension at work, but it will help draw people to you.

5  4  3  2  1

Authenticity  Donít try to be something that you are not.  Also, try seeing yourself as your boss sees you.  Does the ďrealĒ you match up with the image you are working to portray?

5  4  3  2  1

Integrity  The building block of any career is integrity.  Ethical behavior is vital; approach the workplace with honesty, reliability, and honor.  If you canít be trusted, you wonít be promoted.

5  4  3  2  1

People Skills  If you have strained human relations, your advancement will suffer.  Donít discount others, avoid pettiness, reject gossip, and donít try to enhance yourself by putting down others.  Human decency counts.   Although it is a hard lesson, your co-workers can sabotage your chances for advancement.


5  4  3  2  1

Energy  Approach your work (even some of the more repetitive tasks) with as much enthusiasm as you can give it.  High energy and enthusiastic people get ahead.

5  4  3  2  1

Excellence  O.K. this may sound a little too obvious, but to advance you have to demonstrate that you are really good at what you have been asked to do.  Shoddy, lazy, disingenuous, or late work wonít help you get that promotion that you seek.

5  4  3  2  1

Problem Solving  Learn to be an efficient problem solver.  If your boss understands that you will consistently find workable solutions, your chances for promotion increase.

5  4  3  2  1

Proficiency  Be proficient by consistently meeting deadlines, managing time, doing quality work, and showing up on schedule.  It is difficult to advance your career unless you can clearly demonstrate these.

5  4  3  2  1

Motivation  Work at motivating others around you.  If you gain a reputation as someone who gets things done and can encourage others to be more productive, your chances of advancement increase.

5  4  3  2  1

Technology  Technological savvy is frequently a prerequisite for career advancement.


5  4  3  2  1

Potential  It is important to demonstrate that you have untapped potential.   Does your work, your participation, your knowledge base, and your ability to lead portray a person who has untapped potential?

5  4  3  2  1

Learning  The more you know the better your chances for advancement.  Follow the usual learning paths: courses, conventions, lectures, reading, etc.  But donít forget to pay attention to the experiences you are gaining on the job.  Reflect on them and use them to strengthen your performance.

5  4  3  2  1

Observation  Observe carefully and listen with understanding to your bosses and seniors.  Pay close attention to their advice.

5  4  3  2  1

Innovation  Creative people who step forward with new ideas and proposals are frequently seen as strong candidates for advancement.

5  4  3  2  1

Communication  Strengthen your ability to communicate, both orally and in writing.  Poor communication negatively alters how your boss sees you.  Most strong leaders are effective communicators.


Overall Scoring  Total all your scores from both sections of the Inventory.  80-85 = strong; 86-91=very strong; 92 or above=exceptionably strong.  

Remember this is a personal self-appraisal and may not reflect how others perceive you.  Also, people in position to promote others have unique expectations, biases, and sensitivities which may skew your advancement potential.  List those areas that you feel need to be strengthened and work with your boss, mentor, or trusted colleague to brainstorm for ways to bolster them.

Advancement Reality Check

The promotion game is often a brutal one.  When a person does not get a promotion it can be discouraging and trigger some pangs of doubt.  It is important to be honest with yourself.  Below are some hard core reflection questions for you to consider:

1. Do you have a characteristic or behavior that, in your current work place, is a ďgame breakerĒ? 

2. Which behaviors are fixable, which can only be neutralized, and which are unchangeable?

3. Are you in a situation where personal change or growth wonít really contribute to your chances for promotion?

4. Are you seeking honest feedback from reliable and accurate sources?  Are you responding to that feedback sincerely and realistically?

5. Are you seeking a promotion for the right reasons and do you really want it and all that comes with it?

6. Are you being honest with yourself about your performance and potential?

7. Have you considered how the promotion will change your life at work (or at home for that matter)?

Further Considerations

1. Most people have particular traits or personal characteristics that they donít really have the power to change, at least on the job site.  So it is important to focus on those things that you have the ability to strengthen or, in some cases, neutralize.  In short, be realistic about what you can and canít alter and donít try to be something that you arenít or donít really want to be.


2. Keep in mind that change is not a matter of checking off an Inventory.  An Inventory is simply a potential catalyst for action, it is not the action itself.


3. Frequently, you have to be patient.  Promotions are often a confluence of timing, circumstance, availability, and a little luck.


4. Although we sometimes like to think that advancement is simply a matter of fine tuning specific behaviors, there is a more intangible wholeness to all of oneís behaviorsócall it oneís emotional IQ, worldview,  or personalityóit works to shape how one is perceived.  In essence, do you have the right stuff?  Many who seek promotions believe they have it, but those who sign off on promotions may not see it.  

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