By Bob Hamer – President, Sports Business Solutions
In my eight year career with the Phoenix Suns, I was fortunate enough to get promoted seven times. I grew from an entry level salesperson to the Vice President during my tenure. The question I get asked most often from both college students and current industry professionals is, “How did you get promoted so many times, and so quickly”?
I’d be lying if I said timing and a little bit of luck wasn’t part of that. There had to be opportunities above me that opened up, I had to be with a team that believed in internal promotions, and I had to have bosses and mentors who believed in me. All of those things were true at the Suns, however, when I look back at my tenure I can point to five things that were really important in me growing my career and that I think are vital for you to focus on as you aspire to grow your career:
1) Be great in your current role
It’ll be hard to convince your boss and/or other teams and organizations to offer you more responsibility if you’re only an average performer at your current job. We all know what we’re employed to do. Focus on doing the job at the very highest level, and do it consistently each year.
2) Prepare for tomorrow today
It’s important to understand where you are in the org chart, where you ultimately want to go long term and what the next job is to get you there. Learn the skill sets and experiences you’re going to need to get to and succeed in that role, and begin to gain those now. Ask people to lunch, pick their brains. Research the role in your free time, volunteer to job shadow people or sit in on meetings. Prepare for the job before you get it.
3) Be your boss’s “go-to”
In many ways, your current boss holds the keys to your career. They’ll be the one to endorse you for future external roles or promote you internally if they get a promotion themselves. My goal was always to make their lives easier and make them look good. I felt like if I did, I’d develop trust, and prove that I was someone that could be counted on to get the job done. In doing that I continued getting additional responsibilities because I had proven I could handle it.
4) Keep learning
We never arrive in this business. Each role you take will be slightly different and as your career grows you’ll be faced with new challenges. Apply the same mindset you had just starting your career to each new role you take. Ask questions, learn from the team members around you, find mentors, ask for help when needed and treat people with respect as your career ascends.
5) Work with purpose & speak with conviction
If you believe in the path you’re on and what you can do, don’t hold back. Communicate where you want to go to your bosses and mentors, ask for feedback on what you need to do to get there and once you know, apply yourself. When the opportunity comes available, seize it! Show your potential new boss how you’re certain this is the role for you. Show them how you’ve been preparing for it, why you’re the best fit, and convince them you can do it at the highest level. Believe in yourself and bring energy and passion.
You can’t always control when and where opportunities will be available for you so don’t put too much emotional energy into that. Rather, invest everything you have into preparing for that role before you get it. That way, if something opens, there isn’t going to be any question it’s going to be you, and you’re going to be ready. Good luck!
Feature image via KTAR.com
Bob is an established coach, trainer and thought leader within the sports business community. If you’re interested in setting up a career coaching conversation to learn more about how you can get promoted in your job click here for more information, or email bob at email@example.com