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  • Writer's pictureNicole Provonchee

Doing Great Work is Not Enough

You work hard. You hit your goals. You consistently produce high-quality work, on-time and on-budget. You are seen as a valued teammate and receive high marks on your performance reviews. In short, you do great work.

That should be enough to be considered for the big promotion, the big raise or partnership, right? That should be be enough to GET the big promotion, big raise or partnership, right?

Sorry, but no. Many times it is not.

Many professionals believe that just doing great work is enough to get ahead. Most of them are women.

For a host of reasons that begin in grade school, many, many women subscribe to this philosophy. And, it is a belief that is holding them (and maybe you) back.

Recently, one of my incredibly successful clients, Kathy*, told me about being passed over for a promotion. She worked hard, delivered outstanding work, and the promotion seemed like an obvious next step (obvious to her, anyway).

When Kathy expressed frustration to her boss after she was not even considered for the promotion, her boss simply said "You never told me you wanted it."

This scenario is played out over and over in workplaces across the globe. Women work hard and assume the corresponding accolades and rewards will follow.

Sometimes the do. Often they do not.

The lesson here: If you want something, you need to tell the right people.

Logically, it makes sense: Bosses and leaders are not mind-readers. If the person in charge does not know what you want, then it is hard to hold him or her accountable for "not doing the thing you want them to do (that you also did not tell them about...)"

How do you do it differently? Start by getting clear about what you want in your career and the value you bring to your team and organization. It helps if you can articulate the job title you want to obtain or career path you want to follow.

For many of us, that clarity can be elusive. If so, focus on what you do know:

  • What do you love and want to continue to do or do more of?

  • What gifts/skills do you want to continue to grow/leverage?

  • What level of responsibility do you want to obtain or grow?

  • What new experiences do you want to have (manage more people, manage larger budgets, work internationally, oversee specific types of work/projects)?

  • What new opportunities do you want to have in the next 1, 3 or 5 years?

Once you have this clarity, then start talking. Set up a time to talk with your boss about your short, mid and long-term goals. Ask for their feedback and support. If your company is large enough to have an HR department, speak with your HR partner about longer-term opportunities. Tell your mentors, friends and allies.

Most of the important decisions about your career are made when you are not in the room. So, make sure the people who are in a position to make decisions about your career are clear about where you want to go.


Nicole Provonchee is an executive coach and strategist that works with women leaders and women-led teams across the nation.

After 20 years climbing the corporate ladder, Nicole started Bright Blue Consulting, where she can combine her skills as a coach with her practical experiences as a leader and executive.

Nicole is a sought-after speaker and can bring her "get out of your own way," self-advocacy, communication, and healthy conflict skills workshops to your organization or company.

If you want to be even more successful, reach out about coaching, learn more about her events and speaking, or reach out today.

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