Research Outline

Manager To VP- Best Practices


To identify 3-4 best practices for being promoted from a manager/director to a VP for the purposes of developing a go-to-market strategy.

Early Findings

Best Practices- Manager to VP Promotions

The best practices included were seen multiple times in our research.

Just Ask

  • According to Havard Business Review, one of the best things to do is to just ask for the promotion. A direct question posed to senior leadership lets them know you are interested in furthering your career and contributing to the organization. Most boards are always looking at succession planning, and want a deep bench, so it is important to make the desire to move up known and that there is a hunger to take on more responsibility.
  • Volunteer to help out on other teams, or ask for more responsibility. It will increase your value to the company.
  • The VP of Facebook says transparency with goals is important. Make your desires known.
  • In 2011, when Accenture surveyed 3,400 executives, they found that only 37% had asked for a raise, promotion, or job change, but of those who asked, 65% said it helped. In fact, 59% of people who asked for a promotion got one.

Empower & Lead Your Team

  • Empowering your team and leveraging their skills is an asset for anyone seeking a promotion. Be highly selective about who you pick for your teams and this will contribute to your success.
  • Once you have the right team they must be empowered and motivated. This also enables you to demonstrate your management style and skills early.
  • According to a 2017, survey, over 31 hours a month are spent in unproductive meetings. Make meetings effective. It is recommended to keep the meetings between 5 and 15 minutes long, have everyone stand (keeps people actively involved and keeps the meeting short), make the meeting meaningful, meet at the same time every week in the same place, succinctly discuss updates, progress, goals, and challenges.

Be Prepared- Fill Skill Gaps

  • Closely study those in VP positions you would like to occupy. What skill set do they have? Identify these areas and fill the gaps in your resume. Some ways to fill gaps include schooling, taking on new projects, collaborations, serving on boards, or steering committees.
  • Also, read industry literature and market reports that forecast leadership trends and challenges. Management consultancies like McKinsey & Company, PwC and top executive search and leadership advisory firms are all great sources of ahead-of-the-curve information you can utilize to help you better understand in-demand skills and competencies that can set you apart from the competition. Be sure to weave these insights into your LinkedIn summary, executive bio and in your original thought leadership— be it contributed articles or speaking opportunities.
  • Finding a mentor can be quite advantageous. "A recent study found that in four out of five promotions, those promoted had a mentoring relationship with someone higher in the company who helped spread the good word about them. The person is often called an advocate. Some companies have formal mentoring programs, but even if your company does not, there are still ways you can build relationships with people in higher positions in the company. Mentors can also be great sources for information and career guidance. "
  • After you have filled the gaps, attempt to expand your skill set, especially in areas that are critical to the organization. As technology and other environmental forces change rapidly, you need an ever-increasing skill set not only to perform your job, but to stay marketable.

Have a Proven Track Record

  • Being able to show detailed information about past sucesses helps one to make a case for promotion. Those who get results get ahead. Keep a record of everything that you do that enhances the bottom line, especially things that are creative or innovative. It also helps keep your resume up to date.
  • People who work well with others in a cooperative spirit and foster a win-win environment are those are wanted in senior level leadership positions.
  • Deliver what you say you will deliver. Be someone that can be counted on.

Be a Communicator

  • People who have strong communication skills have a real edge on those who don’t. Skills in public speaking, negotiation techniques, organizing and holding productive meetings, presentation techniques, etc. are all important investments you need to make in yourself, and don’t forget basics like good writing skills are also very important.
  • Make a commitment to speak in public, make stand up presentations, hold meetings, etc. to develop and improve your communication skills. I cannot emphasize enough how much solid communication skills can mean to you. In many cases, the person who gets the promotion over others is the one who can communicate effectively. Effective communication skills are career differentiators.

Be Objective

  • Brendan Reid states to be objective at all cost. creating an image of objectivity is one of the most valuable things you can do to advance your career. Many years ago he made a conscious choice to develop a reputation as an objective leader. He tried very hard to look at all business situations dispassionately. He pretended he was analyzing a business case.
  • Cultivating an image for objectivity pays off. It’s valuable for building relationships. It demonstrates maturity and good judgment … and its surprising scarce amongst executives. His recommendation to future VPs is to work on your ability to make objective decisions even when it might damage you in the short term. It can be tough at times, especially when you have to make a hard call that hurts a team member or dings your record a bit, but it will pay you back in the long run.