What It Takes to Get Promoted

Prepared for a Promotion

Did you know? Your performance is only a mere 10% of the equation when it comes to getting a promotion. It’s necessary to perform well, of course – it’s what keeps you employed and puts money in the bank. But it takes a lot more than that to move up to the next level.

Pat Riley once said, “Being ready isn’t enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other significant change.” So how can you be more than ready? Where should you concentrate your efforts if you’re someone who wants very much to advance in their career?

P-I-E Model 

According to this model, three factors add up to how promotable you are.  As you already know, performance is one of them. Though it ultimately gets a small piece of the pie, it is essential, and you should not neglect it in favor of the other indicators. You must fulfill your deliverables, meet target goals, and reliably complete assignments.

The ‘I’ in P-I-E stands for your image and accounts for 30% of your promotability. Your image is all about how you show up at work and how your coworkers perceive you. The old expression “dress for the job you want, not the one you have” applies here. If your hair is a mess and your clothes are wrinkled or overly casual, you won’t have the appearance of someone to entrust with greater responsibility.

You’ll also want to consider how you fit in with the organizational culture and how you get along with colleagues. If your personal brand is a little rough around the edges, it might need some refinement. Actively seek out ways to assist others on your team, volunteer for assignments that let you show off your talents, and try to make a good impression on anyone you encounter within the organization.


The third factor, weighing in at a hefty 60%, is exposure. That means getting noticed. Increased exposure makes people aware of who you are, what you do, and what you have accomplished.

Your leadership abilities will begin to shine through as you gain more visibility. And you’ll need allies and advocates to help you shine, who can celebrate your successes publicly and shout out your wins. (Hot tip: be the person who praises colleagues in team meetings – it builds goodwill, demonstrates grace, and often comes back around with organic reciprocation.) 

Exposure also requires you to form genuine connections with colleagues at every level and in various departments. The wider network you can build, the better, but be careful to maintain authenticity. Give as much as you get, and truly take the time to get to know people beyond the surface. Take the initiative to invite someone for coffee, schedule a Zoom chat, or go out for lunch. And when you find natural connections, put in the regular effort to maintain them.

Having your personal board of advisors is another key. Your advisors can open doors, help put your name out in front of the right people, and encourage you when you feel bashful about making others aware of your hard work.

Are You Promotable? 

Remember, you must be more than ready and prepared. Here’s your checklist for setting yourself up for success:

  • Do a great job
  • Know your brand
  • Deliver value
  • Be a thought leader
  • Build relationships
  • Attract a sponsor

Once you have mastered all of these things, there will be no stopping you. And if you feel like there’s an area that needs a little professional attention, let’s talk. I’d love to help you get promotion-ready!

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

Ready to G.R.O.W.?