Working the Promotion Principles

Welcome back to our series of posts introducing the Promotion Principles! So far we’ve covered why and how the Promotion Principles were developed, and also shared an overview for each of the 5 principles: Performance, Potential, Presence, People and Personal Power.

Today we’re going to look at how the Promotion Principles relate to each other, and 3 ways to work them together to accelerate your path to a promotion:

1. Learn which principles matter most at different points in your career.

2. Learn how to leverage your ability in one principle to excel in another.

3. Learn how personal power is your ultimate accelerator.

Let’s dive into each one…

1. Some Principles Matter More Than Others

As you would expect, what it takes to get promoted is different the higher up you go. Expectations are raised across all 5 of the Promotion Principles.

For example, performance expectations for a junior employee may be to take initiative and be a proactive problem solver. While a more senior employee may be expected to drive cross-department wins, and empower and inspire innovation in others.

But that’s not the only difference. The importance of each Principle also varies based on where you are at in your career journey.

Junior Level: Your ability to produce results and take on higher responsibility matter more as an entry or junior level.


Your ability be a high performer who works hard and produces results is important. In fact, early in your career it’s likely the most important ability for you to master. Closely followed by being seen as someone with high potential to take on more responsibility.

Yet, I’ve seen many junior employees focus more on networking to find mentors and sponsors than on doing their work and excelling in their current role. They mistakenly prioritize the People Principle (gaining support and advocacy) over the Performance and Potential Principles.

Mid Level: Your ability to gain advocacy and support, and show up with impact can matter more the higher you advance.


Conversely, I’ve also seen many mid-career professionals focus exclusively on the Performance Principle. Eventually they learn, usually the hard way after getting passed over for promotions, that performance is not enough to get promoted. Other abilities begin to matter more the higher you advance.

This isn’t to say Performance becomes a non-factor. It will always be important to do your job and deliver results, however your ability to be seen as someone who can take on more responsibility (Potential), show up with impact (Presence), gain advocacy and support (People), and be authentic (Personal Power) all grow in exponential importance with each step up the career ladder.

Focus on what matters most

It’s essential for you to identify which Principles matter most based on where you are at in your career journey. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you only need to excel in one area. That may serve you well for a while, but eventually it won’t be enough to continue to advance your career.  

2. Leverage One Ability to Excel in Another

It’s important to understand the relationships among the 5 principles. There are natural connections in how they can work in concert with each other to accelerate your path to a promotion.

Each of the principles are important, but a strength in one can sometimes overcome a weakness in another. However, your lack of ability in one principle may also pull you back in all areas. Let’s look at a few examples:

Example 1: Your ability to produce results (performance), take on more responsibility (potential), and show up with impact (presence) can help you gain more advocacy and support from others (people).
Example 2: Your ability to show up with impact (presence) and produce results (performance) can elevate how others perceive your ability to take on higher responsibility (potential).

Example 3: Low performance can be a detractor across all the principles. As I explained earlier, high performance isn’t always the most important ability, but a lack of performance is a sure-fire way to stall out your career (or worse).

    Example 4: The people principle can also trump all the principles. If you excel in performance, potential and presence, yet you haven’t been able to get the right people to support your promotion, you’re going to find yourself passed over.

    And last, if you haven’t developed your Personal Power, you may be challenged to develop your competency in the other Principles. Which leads me to the third way to Work the Principles

    3. Personal Power is the Ultimate Accelerator

    Some abilities will be harder for you to develop than others.

    If you find yourself stuck or struggling to make the changes necessary to get ahead at work, the path forward likely lies somewhere in your work beliefs and personal values.

    For example, if you were taught it’s best to play it safe, or you’re not much of a risk taker, it may be harder for you to get outside your comfort zone to learn new skills. In turn, it will be challenging for you to be seen as a high potential employee who is ready to take on more responsibility.

    In this case, your belief system is working against you. To advance, you may need to adopt a new, more empowering belief. This is when the Personal Power Principle can play an important role in accelerating your path to a promotion.

    Personal Power governs how you approach developing the abilities essential to get promoted. You can think of it as the boss of all the principles. It decides which actions you will or won’t take.

    Mastering this principle can have an exponentially positive effect on your ability to excel in the other principles. It can be a source of resilience and ingenuity to expertly manage your career journey on your own terms.

    When faced with a situation that requires actions or behaviors that don’t feel authentic for you, you don’t give up or refuse to act. Instead, you take accountability to find an alternative path forward, one that is congruent with your ideals. Or you learn how to change beliefs that don’t serve you.


    Learn More

    So that was a lot to cover! But the bottom line is each of the 5 Promotion Principles are important and essential to getting promoted, but learning how to leverage them together can make a huge difference in accelerating your journey.

    This concludes our series of posts introducing you to the the Promotion Principles. But fear not, we have much more coming soon to deep dive further into each of the principles. In the mean time, here’s a few posts to check out now: