1. 5% Rule
The key to success and getting promoted in the workplace is often dependent on 5% of your visible and most important work rather than 95% of the work you accomplish in your day-to-day.
Volunteer and challenge yourself to take up visible projects and tasks. Place yourself in projects that put you in sight of upper management. A great article on the 5% rule is linked here.
2. Make your boss look good
Most employees are concerned about their own work, their own performance targets and their own bonuses. This is short-sighted.
Beyond your individual targets, you should actually focus on making your boss look good. If your boss hits her performance targets, and you become an indispensable part of helping her look good, you get rewarded.
3. Office politics
Office politics are unavoidable and can be the biggest bane in employees’ lives. While we don’t recommend fakeness, it is useful to be well-liked in the office. Go out of your way to socialize with your colleagues or help them out during a busy period without expecting anything in return. Make friends with the support staff and the secretaries, they often know the most information in the office ;) These brownie points will help you score in the long-run.
If you are new to the office, try to blend in. Every office is different and the faster you can figure out how to integrate yourself into the dynamic, the quicker you can climb the ladder.
4. Profit bottom-line
You may toil day and night at work, hoping for a big bonus at the end of the year but companies don’t work this way. Fundamentally, companies will only pay you more if they have to (i.e., what you bring to the table is indispensable) or if they had a great year (and they share a bit of the profits with you).
In the same vein, some industries are just more profitable than others, and some skill-sets are just more in demand than others. If you notice yourself getting stuck in a sunset industry, take action immediately. Upgrade your skills, take on a different portfolio of work etc. Hiding from the problem will not make it go away and retrenchment and layoffs nowadays are so commonplace that you have to be prepared.
Everyone knows that networking is integral to success. But why is it so difficult to implement in practice? The truth is that there is no shortcut to relationship building. You have to put in the work and effort to get someone to trust and like you. But once you have that relationship in place, you will find yourself jumping through the hoops and achieving your goals. This can extend to having thriving relationships with your colleagues and boss, or even having a mentor that advocates on your behalf.
Treat every potential interaction with sincerity and respect. Rather than emailing and calling everyone and anyone you know, build a close and core network slowly. Relationships matter and you should learn to cultivate them with care.