Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: These are the 2 fastest ways to get promoted

These are the 2 fastest ways to get promoted
These are the 2 fastest ways to get promoted

Going after a promotion is never easy. It can take months, or maybe even years, before it actually happens.

But bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says there are two things you can do now to fast-track your climb to the next level.

"Surprise! Neither is easy," she warns. "But they work."

Below, Welch tells CNBC Make It about two essential moves that can help you make the leap.

Suzy Welch
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

1. Always over-deliver

When you're eyeing a promotion, you have to be sure to always over-deliver, Welch says, "with the emphasis being on over."

"To get promoted, it's not enough to do what's asked of you," she says. "That's just delivering. To over-deliver, you have to look at every assignment as an opportunity to expand your team's impact or understanding of things."

For example, she says, if your boss asks you to "go analyze competitor X," then you should "give them an analysis of X's entire industry, with acquisition candidates included."

But while you're going above and beyond, you have to be sure that you're doing it with the intent to help your entire team and not just you. "Don't mix up over-delivering with being ambitious," she says. "Overzealous ladder-climbing is about you. Over-delivering results is about making your company and colleagues more successful."

2. Don't use up your boss's political capital

Second, you need to be keenly aware of how your actions impact your boss and their political capital. While this is a bit more subtle than over-delivering, says Welch, it's of equal importance.

"You boss has a certain amount of goodwill in the organization," she says. "Every time you don't play well with others and your boss has to apologize for you, explain your behavior, or advocate for you, you are depleting it."

Even if you're a star employee with a boss who's willing to protect you, "you will become a burden. And burdens — they tend to move up very slowly."

"I don't want to oversimplify what it takes to get promoted. Hundreds of books have been written on this topic, probably more. And there are always mitigating factors to complicate careers."

The simple takeaway: "Over-deliver on results and under-deliver on office drama." Doing this, Welch says, is "a one-two career punch that's hard to beat."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at

Video by Claire Nolan

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