By Justin Kerr


More money, better title, bigger office, make Daddy happy - we all want to be promoted - but most of us don't know how - Mr Corpo breaks it down in 3 easy steps. Plus - new music by The Lonelyhearts.





How To Get Promoted (9/7/2016)

JUSTIN: What do you call a dog at the beach? A hot dog.

(Intro music)

JUSTIN: More money. Better title. Bigger office. Make Daddy happy. Hi, I'm Justin Kerr, and you're listening to another episode of Mr. Corpo podcast. And in case you didn't guess it, we're gonna talk about promotions.

Let me just start this episode by saying, life is not fair. If we're willing to accept this as the basic premise going into the conversation, we have nowhere to go but up. I mean, look. I have plenty examples of my career where life wasn't fair. I remember a boss telling me, "Justin, you're ready to be promoted. You deserve to be promoted, I wanna promote you." But Carla, she's not ready to be promoted, and it might hurt her feelings if we promote you before we promote her. I was literally sitting there, I'm a 27-year-old up and coming kid, I wanna be promoted, I think it's overdue, and I'm being told, we can't promote you until this bad person, Carla -- and when I say bad person, I mean bad at her job -- until she gets better at her job, then we wanna promote you together. I mean, imagine the injustice. But that's just my proof: life is not fair. But I digress. The point of this episode is, I wanna move you from a passive passenger on the journey to getting promoted and turn you into the driver of your own promotion. And look, getting promoted isn't easy. But the thing is, actually, it is easy. And I'm gonna break it down right now into three main parts. Number one, setting your goals. Number two, understanding the playing field. And number three, making your case. So without further ado, let's jump right into it: setting your goals.


JUSTIN: Now, this may seem obvious to everyone out there. Oh, setting my goals, that's so dumb, why do I even have to waste my time setting goals? So many people skip this step, and -- and what I have to say to anyone who skips the step of setting goals, it's kind of like setting out to drive from New York City to San Francisco, and being in such a rush to get to San Francisco, you don't bother to look up the directions. "I'm in too much of a rush, I gotta get to San Francisco as fast as possible. I don't have time to look up the directions." Think about it. If you want to get from here to there, take just a minute or two. Take an hour, and figure out how you wanna get there, where you wanna go, and what are the steps along the way. You are gonna save so much time, so much energy, so much heartbreak. Trust me, you won't run out of gas, you'll always have snacks in the car, and the air conditioning will always work. Set your goals. Now, the thing about setting your goals is, most people do it completely wrong. I wanna set you straight. Here's what I want you to do when you set your goals. First thing I want you to do is completely ignore your company's goals. You know those goals that HR rolls out, and they say, this is our one-year goals, everyone fill out this form, let's waterfall it from the management to the middle management to the lower leaders, to the bottom people? And it takes you about six months for you to get these company goals and by the time you get the goals, they're asking you to fill out your midterm report. And it has no meaning whatsoever, because they haven't even set them and then no one talks about them at all, and then all of a sudden HR says, "Hey, you gotta fill in your end of year goals, make sure to fill out your form." No one's looked at them, no one's talked about them, they're a complete waste of time. So my point is, of course you gotta follow the rules, fill them out, but these don't matter. These don't count as your goals, alright? Here's the thing I want you to focus on. Six-month goals are good, three-month goals are the best, and one-month goals are useful. Alright? So six-month goals, whatever, you can figure it out. Three-month goals, that's what I want you to focus on. The reason I like three-month goals is because it's a long enough period of time that you can actually get something accomplished and measure that result. It's 12 weeks. You can get a lot done in 12 weeks. And I like that it's 12 weeks, because 12 weeks is actually an increment of time that you can somewhat get your head around. You can kind of think about, alright, in the next 12 weeks what do I have to do? And then you can start to count down and it feels real. If I tell you, what are you gonna do 52 weeks from now, you have no fucking idea, alright? My point is, 12 weeks, you can think about it, you can start to plan it out, 05:05 and it gives you enough runway to do the research, get the work done, and turn it in and get credit. And the thing is, to get promoted, you're gonna need two or three of these three-month projects. Thirty-day goals, this is like increasing your arsenal. Every 30 days, you wanna add a new skill set, and so it's like another weapon you're bringing to battle. And think about it. After one year, you're gonna have 12 new skills. Here's the other thing I wanna say about setting your goals: be specific. You aren't going to "improve your financials," quote unquote, you're going to set one-hour weekly meetings to study your financials with the CEO, or the CFO. You aren't going to quote, "beat sales target." Instead, you're going to rate your performance down to the plus or minus three percent, plus or minus ten percent, plus or minus 15 percent. It's gonna be measurable, it's gonna be specific. The more specific, the less it becomes a beauty pageant between you and someone else, and the more it becomes black and white facts, and the faster and easier it is for you to get promoted. Here's another tip on setting your goals: doing your job won't get you promoted. Now, some of you are listening and saying, "Well, that's not fair." And to those of you I just say, "Good luck with life." Now for the rest of you, if you hear me say, "Doing your job won't get you promoted," I love that you're thinking, "No, duh. Of course I'm gonna go above and beyond my job to show, hey, I'm performing my job at a level above my expectations, so take me to the next level." But I wanted to say it out loud cause not everybody understands this very basic premise. And the last thing I'm gonna say about setting your goals is: your boss is not a mind-reader. They don't know you wanna get promoted. They don't know that you wanna get promoted in three months. They don't know you expect to be promoted in six months. You need to say something. It's the same thing as these public announcements on the Subways: if you see something, say something. In this case, if you feel something, if you wanna be promoted, then say something. Tell them you wanna be promoted. And then guess what? Set a date. Remember I said be specific? Set a date with your boss. If you go into your boss and say, "I wanna get promoted," they'll be like great, okay, I wanna promote you, too. If you say, "I wanna be promoted in six months," they're gonna go, "Oh my gosh, I'm in trouble." You have to say it up front. You need to get on the same page as your boss and have a common understanding. Is that promotion three months away? Is it six months away? Is it 12 months away? It actually doesn't matter. Look, life is too long as it is. So you've got plenty of time. Understand, set the expectations, and then march to that goal, in combination with your boss. Get on the same page as your boss, and head towards that goal of getting promoted. The time doesn't matter. I know in the moment it's gonna feel important whether you got promoted in September or November, but it doesn't matter. Actually, it doesn't matter at all. And I can't remember which month I got promoted in any of my promotions over the last 16 years. I love to believe it all evens out in the end. And if someone gets promoted before they should, guess what? It just means next time, they'll be the last one promoted. So don't compare yourself to others, don't worry about it. The time doesn't matter, you have a goal, you know where you're headed, you've got a game plan, let's start moving there. Alright, that's it for number one, setting your goals. (music) JUSTIN: Alright, so we talked about setting your goals. Now I wanna talk about understanding the playing field. And what I mean by this is: who's who and whose butt do I have to kiss, and who's gonna kiss my butt, and how does this whole thing work? That's what I mean when I say, "understanding the playing field." It's not about you. It's not only about you. Of course it's a little bit about you, we're talking about your promotion. But the point is, it's not only about you. It's about your boss, it's about your boss's boss, it's about your boss's boss's boss. It's about some guy who sits on the floor above you who you're never heard of, who doesn't even work in your division, but somehow will be involved in the decision of whether or not you get promoted. It's about the HR person. It's about your peer group. It's about someone in a different division that joined the company at the same time as you. It doesn't matter if they're good or bad, you heard me talk about my experience with Carla. Obviously I still remember her name, it traumatically impacted my life, I don't want it to impact yours. I want you to understand, there's a lot of different pieces on the playing board. If you've got a good boss, they're gonna be on the same page as you, 10:01 they're gonna wanna help you get promoted. Don't go over your boss's head. Your job is to make your boss look good. Sure, you're gonna watch someone throw their boss under the bus, and they're gonna get a promotion one time in their life. But guess what? That strategy doesn't work. The fastest way to your promotion is getting your boss's strong endorsement. But it doesn't stop there. Because your boss isn't the only one who decides if you get promoted. HR is gonna play a role. Make sure you meet with HR every quarter. Make sure you meet with them and they know what your expectations are about promotions. Make sure you find a way that people in the building know your name. These things happen with big board meetings, there's seven people in the room, and they say, "Alright, I wanna promote Justin Kerr." And everyone in the room says, "Who?" You're dead. It doesn't even matter what you've done. If they haven't heard your name, it's a problem. So one of my small pieces of advice here is, organize a volunteer session. Do some small thing that makes everyone at the company know your name, so when they say, "We're here, I wanna promote Justin Kerr." And someone says, "Who?" They can at least say, "Justin's the guy who organized the Clean Up The Beach Day." You want people to know your name. That's just the cost of entry. So keep your eye out for that. Alright? And here's the other thing: I know you like to think you're the most important thing in the world, but you're not. Your boss has their own problems. Your boss is worried about their own promotion. Your boss is worried about their family at home. Your boss is pissed cause they didn't get promoted last quarter. Your boss is pissed cause they're hiring a new person above them. Your boss has problems. It's not just you. And the thing is, if you're good at your job, your boss is probably gonna completely ignore you and forget about you. Because bosses have a tendency to pay attention to the squeaky wheel. It's not just about you. You gotta think about all the other people that are gonna impact your ability to get promoted or not, okay? So that's my second point, understand the playing field. (music) JUSTIN: Alright, so let's talk about making your case. There's two easy steps to this. One, you need to summarize your accomplishments. And two, you need to set a meeting. It's that easy. Now, when it comes to summarizing your accomplishments, all I want you to do is open up an email, pull out a bunch of bullet points, and in one sentence or less, summarize each of your key points that support why you should be promoted. It can't be a paragraph long, that's too many words, nobody wants to read it. Just one sentence that says, "Here's specific proof of why I should be promoted." Now, hopefully there's more than one bullet point in this email, otherwise you're probably in trouble. Send it to your boss and say, "Hey boss, I just wanted to summarize all my key accomplishments this year. Look forward to having a conversation about my promotion." That's it, it's super simple, you've summarized your accomplishments. Now, the next part: setting up the meeting. It's super easy, but there's a couple things you need to get right. Now, don't run into your boss's office waving your sheets of paper and say, "Here's all my key accomplishments, I wanna get promoted." You don't wanna surprise your boss. This isn't gonna set the right mood, okay? So what you wanna do is shoot an easy email and say, "Hey boss, looking forward to talking about my promotion. Let me know if you want to use our weekly meeting, or if you want me to set up a separate time." And the thing is, you walk in there, you print out two copies of your accomplishments, you give them one copy, you keep the other. This meeting is not the moment to prove your case. This meeting is not the moment when you're gonna convince your boss that you should be promoted. The work's already been done, the decision's already been made. Now, here's what I wanna tell you: if you have a good boss, they've already confirmed with HR and their boss and their boss's boss that you're gonna get promoted. And in this case, you're gonna hand them the sheet of paper, they're gonna kick back and they're gonna say, "Hey, thanks for doing this, no problem, feeling good," and it'll be an easy conversation. That's if you have a good boss. If you have a mediocre boss, then maybe they've had some of the conversations and they're gonna grab that sheet of paper out of your hand, they're gonna be super desperate to go through it, and they're gonna say, "Oh, okay, good. I gotta get this, and I gotta send this to HR right away. I'm not sure I've convinced everyone for this promotion, but this'll help." The point is, your boss'll be happy you did this. Now, the third option is, you have a bad boss. This happens more often than any of us would care for. Your boss hasn't given your promotion a second thought, they've done no work for your promotion, basically you're dead in the water. But this is salvageable. You've summarized your key accomplishments, you've made it easy for your boss to try and make up for lost time. They can forward this to HR, they can forward it to their boss' boss' boss, 15:03 and they can try and push this thing through. It's your best chance at getting promoted. So whether you have a good boss, a mediocre boss, or a bad boss, this is the way to go. Now, after that, as I said at the beginning of the show, life's not fair. So if you got promoted, awesome, onto the next. If you didn't, keep going. HR, your boss, are gonna feel so guilty that they let you down that you'll get promoted at the next half, or the next quarter, it doesn't matter. Keep going, you'll get the promotion you deserve. There's no magic here. We set some goals, we made sure everybody knew about it. And then that was it. Mission accomplished. So just to summarize, one more time, there was only three steps to getting a promotion. I want you to set your goals, I want you to make sure you know who the right people are, and then I want you to make your case. That's it. Now, go get promoted.


JUSTIN: Now, let's pause for a word from our sponsors. For today's ad, I'm gonna crank call Matt Rorick, the founder and winemaker of Forlorn Hope. (phone ringing) MATT: Hello, you've reached Matthew Rorick. Please leave a message, and I will return your call as soon as possible. VOICEMAIL: At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press one for more options. (voicemail tone) JUSTIN: Hey Matt, this is Justin. I'm calling from the Mr. Corpo podcast, and we're recording your ad live, on the air, right now. One of the things that our listeners don't know is, every bottle of Forlorn Hope includes your phone number on the cork. And it says, "Call me." So I just wanted to let everybody know, they can have the pleasure of calling you if they buy Forlorn Hope Wine and find your number and leave a crank call on your voicemail. So all Mr. Corpo listeners, buy Forlorn Hope Wine, use the Mr. Corpo discount, it's at, and the discount is MRCORPO. You get 15 percent off. After you open your first bottle, I insist that you call Matt on this number, it's on the cork, and I need you to leave a bad joke, I need you to tell him you listen to Mr. Corpo podcast, whatever the case may be. But the point is, this guy's awesome, he believes in his product, and you can call him directly. Oh, and one more thing: he's really good looking.


JUSTIN: Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section!

Bonus section! Bonus, bonus, bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bonus! Bonus section, I love you!

ROB: Me, too! JUSTIN: Welcome to another famous bonus section of the Mr. Corpo podcast. This week, we're gonna talk about how to talk about your promotion without making everybody hate you. And I'm gonna give you a few do's and don't's. Here they are. Do talk about your desire to be promoted with your boss. Do set a rough timeline with your boss for when you should get promoted. Do frame the discussion around your goals and what you're working on. You don't wanna talk about your promotion all the time, you wanna talk about your goals and what you're working on. Do frame your desire to be promoted in the context of you wanting to have a bigger impact on the business. This isn't about promotion, promotion, promotion. This is about, I wanna take on more responsibility, I wanna contribute more to the company. I wanna help make everyone more successful. In this context, nobody's gonna hate you. Now, here's a few things I don't want you to do. Don't talk about your desire for a bigger title as the reason for your promotion. Don't compare yourself to the weakest co-worker in your entire building and use that as justification for why you should be promoted. That's for losers. Don't bring up your desire to be promoted more than once a month. Don't even bring it up once a month. Remember the do's? Talk about how you're working on big projects, how you wanna make a bigger impact on the business. This is gonna sound a lot better to everybody involved and no one's gonna hate you. Alright, so that's how to talk about your promotion without making everybody hate you. But guess what? We're not done yet. Rob, first time ever, super secret bonus section! Super secret bonus section! Super secret bonus section! Super secret bonus section! First time ever.

ROB: Wow.

JUSTIN: 20:00 Alright everybody, I'm gonna do this in a low whisper, cause I really want you to lean into your speakers in your car, while you're driving, get your ear as close to where the speakers are as possible. Alright, here's the super secret first time ever double bonus section. Here's one more point about how to get promoted. And it's two words: save everything. You don't have a good memory. Your boss doesn't have a good memory. If I asked you what you did 30 weeks ago, you would have no idea. If I asked you what you did 20 weeks ago, you'd have no idea. Now, don't take this as a judgement of how useless your life is. I'm trying to point out, you need to save everything. Create a folder, call it "Promotions" and then every day as anything good happens, throw it into that folder. Monthly recaps? Throw it in the folder. Your boss says good job? Throw it in the folder. Everything there. Save everything. That's my super secret, get promoted, not-everyone does-it-but-they-should-do-it bonus tip. Boom.


JUSTIN: Maybe as an addendum to the Mr. Corpo podcast, we will be sending out morse code super secret bonus sections. Hit me up on the social channels if you need more details. Twitter, it's Mr_Corpo. And Instagram, it is still MRCORPO. But of course, before we go, I wanna get you to come new music. I also wanna thank my producer, Rob. It's actually Rob's birthday. Rob, could you say a word or two?

ROB: Hey, thanks for giving me the mic. I just wanted to let everyone out there in radio land know that -- no, that's not how I actually talk. I just love working on the Mr. Corpo podcast, so leave it a rating and a review on iTunes. Let everyone else know. Tell your friends, tell your mom. Your mom wants a promotion? Get her one.

JUSTIN: Rob, how old are you.

ROB: Thirty-two.

JUSTIN: Thirty-two?

ROB: Thirty-two.

JUSTIN: Good luck with that. Alright, now listen, before we go, I wanna leave you with some new music. This is from one of my favorite bands of all time. They're called the Lonely Hearts, and this song is called "Overpass." (song) 28:27

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