Be an Explorer, Not a Follower

We often follow advice from others when trying to get promoted at work. However, much of what we are told can be less than helpful. Learn a better way forward.

Why not follow career advice?

When we encounter difficult problems at work (like trying to figure out what it takes to get promoted!), often our tendency is to rely on advice from others. But unfortunately, when it comes to career advancement, much of what we are told is less than helpful.

For example, have you been told you’re not ready yet, and need to be more visible, be more confident, or be more something else that’s impossible to understand?

Or, perhaps you’ve been advised to make stylistic changes with what you wear, how to stand, where to sit, what to say and how to say it. Or maybe the golden ticket is to just find a sponsor, cause that’s super easy to do, right?

Will it make you more promotable?

As I shared in a prior post, there was no shortage of well-intentioned advice coming my way years ago when I was struggling to advance out of middle management. But none of the feedback was explicit in describing the areas – skills or competencies – that I needed to develop.

It certainly didn’t help me zero in on the areas that mattered most to get promoted. In fact, it did the exact opposite, pulling me in a dozen different directions at once.

Now, I’m not saying career advice is completely useless. There can certainly be golden nuggets in there somewhere. And following advice from others can lead to professional improvements.

But are those improvements the ones that make you more promotable? 

If you’re serious about wanting to get promoted, you need to focus on the actions that will fast-track your next promotion. Cut through the clutter and do what matters most to finally get yourself promoted.

It’s time to explore principles…

What do I mean by ‘principles’?

So here’s the official definition of a “Principle” – a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

Okay, that’s a lot of words, so let’s dive a bit deeper.

Basically, principles are used to summarize what has been discovered to be true about something. They can help to create a better understanding of complex topics by breaking it down to fundamental elements. And best of all, principles guide us to focus on what matters most, so in turn we can build upon them to achieve excellence over time.

Exploring principles puts you on a different trajectory

There are countless ways principles are used to create a shared understanding around different topics in business and beyond… principles of leadership, principles of design, principles of communication, principles of a democracy, etc.

In marketing we have the 7 principles (formerly known as the 4P of marketing). Each of these principles is essential for achieving success in marketing. They are each independently important, but also work together to get results. The principles guide marketers to focus their creativity on the most important elements of a marketing strategy.

And this is why exploring principles is better than following advice to get promoted.

Principles provide a framework that guides you to focus on what matters most to get ahead, while enabling you to determine the behaviors and actions you’ll take to achieve success.

Exploring principles put you on a different trajectory. They enable you to think for yourself.

The 5-Principle Framework for Career Advancement

As I shared in prior posts, after realizing career advice was leaving me even more confused on what it would take to finally get promoted, I set out to uncover what matters most. I was on a mission to crack the code on career advancement.

During this time, themes and patterns began to surface. I started to see how certain actions, behaviors, and skillsets laddered up to a few higher-level capabilities. And these higher-level capabilities had the power to either make or break someone’s next promotion.

I began to codify these learnings into essential abilities for career advancement. Together, they represent a 5-principle framework for career advancement I branded the Promotion Principles.

The Promotion Principles offer a sensible, structured approach to get recognized, rewarded, and promoted at work

By exploring the Promotion Principles, you’ll be able to cut through the clutter and focus on what’s most important to move your career to the next level. You’ll have a framework that speeds up learning and provides useful insights for better decision making. To lay out a direction, like a north star, that accelerates your path to a promotion.

Promotion Principles enable you to think for yourself and manage your career your way!


Need even more reasons why exploring principles is better than following pieces of advice? Maybe this visual will help:

Advice vs Principles

If you have your sights set on getting promoted, don’t waste your time following random pieces of advice that may have helped someone else in some arbitrary way.

Instead, explore the Promotion Principles. Get started here.