Promote Yourself Through Story
Storytelling to advance your career within your organization works much the same way it does when you seek to enter a new organization. When you want to propel your career within an organization, you need to become a story collector.
Keep a record of everything you do that enhances your organization’s bottom line, shines a positive light on your organization or department, creatively and innovatively solves organizational problems, and shows your loyalty and commitment to your employer. And, of course, as emphasized in Chapter 1, record everything you do that demonstrates how well you have led, communicated, or adapted to change within your organization.
The minute you begin a new job, start tracking your accomplishments. Keep a story log in a little notebook, on index cards, in a computer database, on a small tape recorder, or on your handheld device. It’s important to collect this data as your accomplishments occur and compose them in story form because most people have a hard time dredging up stories of their accomplishments and achievements. At key times, such as when a promotion opportunity arises, they’re frequently not even convinced they’d had any accomplishments worth sharing. But everyone has, and anyone who wants to advance on the career ladder should be prepared to articulate achievements beyond the day-to-day tasks he or she performed on the job.
Accomplishments are the points that really help sell you to an employer, much more so than everyday job duties, whether you are selling your qualifications to an employer for the first time or seeking to move up. In the interview she did with Quintessential Careers, career counselor Michelle Watson noted that “employers are seeking success stories.” They want to know that you are a problem-solver, a mover and a shaker, a contributor to the organization, and someone who shows initiative. While promotions are not always based on your past performance, you can certainly make a much better case for a promotion by telling detailed stories about your past successes. Those who get results get ahead.
Expressing your accomplishments in story form using any of the numerous story frameworks throughout this book is a huge advantage because your compelling, engaging story will be more memorable to the manager making the promotion decision than the people who aren’t telling stories. You will be far more confident, convincing, and persuasive than your competitors who merely list accomplishments “ or believe they have no accomplishments. The decision-maker will get to know and trust you through your stories, which may also help you establish the emotional connection that will inspire him or her to invest in your success.