No one likes to be passed over for a promotion or big project, but if you ask even the most successful people if it's happened to them -- they will probably respond "Yes."
But if you're continually passed over for a promotion or denied access to important projects (or people), you may need to look deeper at the root cause.
One thing to consider is that the boss or other senior leaders just don't believe you "get it." To be more specific, they don't believe you truly grasp the company's goals and how to help achieve them on a consistent basis.
What are your organization's three top priorities? Who are its biggest competitors? What is the top challenge your industry faces in the next five years?
If you can't answer all these questions -- and quickly -- then you know that you're missing some key knowledge. Chances are good then, this is why you're also missing out on key opportunities.
Another thing to consider: Do you even care about your organization's goals? Do you care about the goals your boss has been tasked by his or her manager to deliver?
If not, then that's a clue that maybe it's time for you to move on and find something about which you do care. Your lack of enthusiasm is not only detrimental to your career, but to your colleagues and your boss. That's not fair to anyone.
Once you decide that you do care enough to hang onto your job and want to be more successful, here are some things to do:
- Study the boss. It's time to be observant, ask relevant questions and try to understand fully what's important to the boss and why. Chances are good that the boss has aligned his or her goals with that of other senior managers, and that means these goals also are important to the CEO. So, while you may not have access to the CEO, you certainly can glean what is important to him or her -- and that's critical information.
- Strategize. What can you do to help the boss achieve his or her goals? When presenting these ideas, try to use the same language as the boss. That makes it easier for him or her to understand your focus. Often, ideas are shot down simply because you don't use some of the same jargon as the boss, and he or she tunes you out. Once he or she hears familiar key phrases or words, then the boss is much more likely to tune in and think "this person gets it."
- Make it a habit. Once you start to see what really matters to the organization and your boss, don't make it a one-time thing. That's not enough to get you a raise or promotion. You've got to incorporate it into your daily habits so that the boss consistently sees that you "get it." Make sure you document your efforts so that you can clearly demonstrate you're not a one-trick pony.
- Be a trouble-shooter. If you're having trouble coming up with ways to demonstrate your worth -- then be the person who can demonstrate what NOT to do. Sometimes that's just as important as blazing a new trail. For example, become a diligent proofreader of key data being presented to clients, so that there's no chance for errors. Or, be the one who double-double-checks that a key shipment will arrive on time -- and have a backup plan in place in case something goes wrong.
The key is showing the boss that not only are you dependable, but that you're invested in the company's success -- just as if you owned it. Once that becomes clear, then you will start to see more opportunities come your way.