Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How to get promoted

I was throwing out some old files today and stumbled upon this motivating memo I had in one of my personal folders. It was written by the great Bill Marsteller back in 1963 when an employee asked him how to get ahead in his company. I received a copy of this memo about 15 years ago when I was working at Cohn & Wolfe (sister agency to Burson-Marsteller).

If you are looking for a promotion in your firm, make sure you read this. Many, if not all of these suggestions, still hold up today.

I sincerely hope my own employees read this!

I couldn’t have said this better.


Date: April 25, 1963
TO: Everyone
From: Wm. A. Marsteller
SUBJECT: How to get promoted


Be loyal. Don’t just be loyal to me or to the company as a name, but to the people who make up the company.

Reserve your opinion of people, good, or bad, until you’ve observed them and lived with them long enough to be sure you’re right.

Quit worrying about your competition. The only real competitor you will ever have is yourself. Remember, I don’t pick our leaders; the followers do.

Look for the best in others and remember all of us have more weaknesses than we see in ourselves.

Be interested in the other person’s job. Make suggestions humbly. Ask advice. Build up your associates – to each other, to media reps and editors, to friends, neighbours, your family and visitors from our other offices.

Don’t waste your ability—write articles, make speeches. Stand out from the crowd or be lost in the crowd.

If you have problems, doubts or suggestions about the management of this business, go to the management with your comments, not the guy at the next desk. He can’t do anything about it.

Never quit creating. The world is run by creative people.

Other people like a compliment as much as you do.

Don’t get discouraged. Look back at your progress, account by account, job by job, person by person. Thousands of good novels were never written because the author got bored or discouraged after the first chapter.

Put a “Pride” file in your desk. This is a file of the jobs you have done that you’re really, really proud of. See how fast you can make it grow. Review it from time to time and to see if the oldest entries look ordinary to you. Great performers grow.

Never lose your sense of humour.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Hang on to your humility.

Remember, almost no one holds a confidence. It’s human nature to pass along stories. Be sure when you tell tales about someone else that you’re willing to have the subject get the story second-hand, credited to you.

You think you are able; I think you are able. When other people around you begin saying so, unsolicited, then you’re promotable.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

Great post. Bill Marsteller was a very smart man. A lot of his advice translates well for life outside of the office too.

Barry Waite said...

Thanks for sharing that Julie. Very powerful. The most successful people in our profession continue to be the ones who are respectful of everyone they meet, whether the owner of a company or a clerk in the mailroom. It's not just good PR, its good period.