Analytical 6: Advancement

7 October, 2016


Advancement in an organisation isn’t a straight-forward thing and there’s no one easy answer, but if you want to give yourself the best chance, I have some suggestions.

Transcript available
[Music] Everything can be improved, iterated and refined. And if you don't think that's true, maybe you haven't analyzed it enough. Calculated choices carefully considered. Absolutely analytical. Analytical is part of the Engineered Network. To support our shows, including this one, head over to our Patreon page and for other great shows, visit today. Advancement. A few months ago, at the end of the financial year here in Australia, which runs from July of the previous year to June the 30th of the current year, it was time for review at work. Review time. Now, obviously not only did I have my review personally, but I was also involved in other people's reviews as their manager. Performance reviews, 360 degree reviews, I've heard them referred to as people performance results or PPRs with what one company called them that I worked for a while ago, salary reviews, you get the idea, right? You sit down in a room with your boss, you tell them how things are going. They tell you how they think you're going, where you need to be going. And basically assess how well you've done in the previous 12 months. Often the reviews sort of feed into your salary or remuneration for the, or benefits for the upcoming year. And sometimes it's just about self-improvement. It's like there's a training course you wanna go on or there's, you know, something else that you need like a new chair, I don't know. It's a review. It's your opportunity to also, depending on how open your manager is to such discussions, it's also your opportunity to speak to your manager about their potential areas for improvement. Not necessarily recommending that path, of course, but your mileage may vary, as they say. So anyhow, the topic came up during one of those Z reviews a few times. It was a common theme. How do I advance in the company? So rather than just say that, it's like, how do I advance? How do I progress? How do I get promotion? Under the same kind of things, I wish to be paid more. I wanna be regarded more highly. I want to get better benefits and so on and so on. It's very personal and individual in exactly what people want, but suffice to say advancement, hence the topic. Some people seem to be pretty happy to just glide along, slide by, ring it in, I think some would say, but other people have a drive. They have a determination to become more than what they are now. And they just want to know, Well, if I am going to become more, how do I go about it? In engineering, it's centered around qualifications quite a bit, which I have mixed feelings about. Regular listeners would know this. You should get blah qualification. That might be considered favorably. Certainly in the paths of management versus technical, there's a divide of sorts. But in my career, I see there's different paths developing in engineering where soft skills whilst they're important, aren't the sole motivator for advancement in a company in terms of management. Being a technical person, and also back in management again, I feel like there's two kinds of management, there's technical management and executive management, where executives try and look for the larger organizational changes in the direction the company takes as a whole. Whereas technical managers are far more focused on technical efficiency, technical competency, and actually producing work. They're two very different types and styles of management, I think. Now, being that I'm not an executive, I'm going to safely assume, I think safely assume probably, that few, if any of the people listening to the shows are executives either. So I'd say let's stick with the technical management piece, at least in terms of advancement. So that's what I'll mean from this point onwards when I say management advancement. I'm talking about technical management. So as in I'm starting out, how do I plan advancement into that sort of a role? Or at least that that that was what came up in recent reviews. Now I talked about competence in episode two, and certainly that sort of thing helps. But it's been my observation that opportunities are provided to people, even if they lack confidence from time to time, you don't have to be overwhelmingly confident to get opportunities. But people tend to be given opportunities, I have observed, if they show initiative, if they're motivated and if they're keen, they're genuinely keen to try. And people that get advancement in an organization tend to be those that when they're given an opportunity, they take it with both hands, they do their very best. And even if they don't completely succeed, they have a really good stab at it. They give it their best effort and in short, they don't give up. Now, I wonder how many people complain how unfair their position is in a company because I've heard it all before. And when I was younger, I even said some of this myself. I've got more experience than blah. I'm older than blah. I have more qualifications than blah, or I have more relevant experience, blah, blah, blah, whinge, whinge, whinge. You know, I've heard it all. If you're genuinely interested in fixing problems other people can tell. They're not stupid. I mean, people look around sometimes I work with very smart people and sometimes they think that they're smarter than everyone else. And I think that there's a little bit of a lack of humility in a lot of people. We like to think inside our own minds that we're going to get a good beat on things, we're pretty smart, we're switched on and so on, and there seems to be this prevailing belief, self-belief and it's in conflict with being overconfident, but the point is that people can tell if you're genuinely interested and if you really want to fix problems, if you genuinely care, that will come across It's very hard to fake that, at least it's hard to fake it consistently, maybe you could fake it for a little while And thinking that you're better than everyone else is also another issue But anyway, all right, if you're good at interacting with people, other people will let you know And if you're good at what you do, people will let you know one way or the other If you're really bad at what you do, you will also figure it out But the point is you have to pay attention to what people are telling you As far as I know, there is no one that got a good advancement in a company by complaining about how undervalued they are So if I sat in a corner and started complaining about that I don't think that's a good way to get advancement And if that's the way you look at it, then you're looking at it wrong It's not about "woe is me" It's not about "I'm so... I'm undervalued, I don't believe that I'm... I'm being treated with the level of respect that I deserve" If that's the way you feel, then that's the way you feel, but that's not reality necessarily Because honestly, I think if you think like that, you're thinking about it wrong People that show initiative, drive, determination, as well as capability get given the opportunities People that advance take those opportunities and then they run with them They don't complain, they don't whinge, they get on with it and they give it their very best The problem is, of course, people would say, well, I do that and I still don't get advancement That's not fair, that's not right, and maybe that's true, maybe that isn't fair, maybe it isn't right and maybe you're just being taken for a ride, maybe you need to go work for another company If they don't recognize your hard work, then maybe you shouldn't be there, maybe some other company deserves your time, life is precious, life is short, you want to spend your time working for some people that are actually going to appreciate what you provide, what you bring to the table, where you're given opportunities, you run with it, you work hard, you do a good job, you deliver a good result. If they don't appreciate that, sometimes it's not about the money. If the money is equal, then I would suggest to you that that is not an ideal situation. And don't get me wrong, even if you do all of those things that I just suggested, that's no guarantee, because you could do all of these things and get nothing. But if you do, I would suggest don't fake it, mean it. Because if you're doing those things, if you're running with the chances that you've been given and you put in your yourself in the best possible position, you're putting yourself in the best place so that when an opportunity to advance comes along, you'll be right where you need to be. You'll be standing right there. And that is how you get advancement. If you're enjoying Analytical and you want to support the show, you can, like one of our backers, Chris Stone. He and many others are patrons of the show via Patreon, and you can find it at or one word. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, it's all very much appreciated. Accept nothing, question everything. It's always a good time to analyze something. I'm John Cheeji. Thanks for listening. (music) (music) you
Duration 10 minutes Direct Download

Show Notes

Links of potential interest:

Premium supporters have access to high-quality, early released episodes with a full back-catalogues of previous episodes


John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.