Working up the corporate food chain 1
Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2017 - 4:00pm

It finally happened! Theories do not work as efficiently as experiences and you will never learn until you experience it. I saw it and even witnessed it. In fact, I was part of it. Let’s just call him Bobby. Bobby approached me for advice and this is why I know everything first hand.

Bobby was consumed with the project. He read books, blogs, he researched, traveled, took endless snapshots and even dreams about the project. And he works with his associate on the project.

Bobby is a people person. His network is vast, I have the sneaky suspicion that the reason why he will never run out of ideas is because he will never run out of friends and contacts. His associate was good with numbers but not very good with ideas while Bobby was great with ideas but numbers is not his thing. And so they work together on the project. It took off and sales came in.

And then one day, Bobby’s associate said something strange that did not quite make sense to him. He says, “Bobby, I just want you to know that I will work hard for my promotions because it means a lot to me.”

Bobby said, “I understand.” Bobby was confident. He was the one with the ideas anyway. And so they made their presentation before their new boss.

Bobby was floored. His associate presented the numbers and then in front of him took credit for all the creative ideas, leaving Bobby astonished and aghast.

He said, “Right in front of me, he took credit for everything I did.” So, Bobby’s associate was promoted. And to add insult to injury, he now has to call his associate, “Boss!”

Now Bobby feels rejected, dejected and is considering leaving. And he would soon.

This is why in my leadership seminars, I have always been emphatic in saying, “Good people do not leave good organizations; they leave their lousy bosses or their lousy associates.”

Bobby finally learned what I have been saying all along. “YOU NEED TO MARKET YOUR OWN WORK CONTRIBUTIONS.”

The business corporation is so complex and complicated--an animal. You will never rise up the corporate food chain unless you market your work contributions.

There are many good and creative people who finally get tired of watching other workers advance their career while they are not promoted in their current positions. They have embraced their self-proclaimed nobility of keeping silent with their contributions hoping and praying that their bosses will take notice. And if this story sounds familiar to you because you are one of those poor souls who have experienced the same then listen to what I have to say: THIS DOES NOT WORK!!!

And here is the logic behind my claim: Your boss is too busy watching out for himself to care enough to monitor and inspect your work contributions. And when some loudmouth, low down two-timer preys on your silence and claims credit for your achievements, he gets the prize and you eat his dust.

This reflects poor leadership and poor feedback mechanism. But the worst of them all is that business organizations lose good people who will always find another place where their contributions will be recognized and rewarded.

Bobby’s associate may have won this time but he will lose in the long run. Rather than creating a friend and learning from Bobby, his associate simply revealed a serious lack of character. Bobby is now wiser and he will keep the ideas to himself. Worst, he will probably work somewhere else. And where will that leave the associate who has now become the boss? He will probably poach on someone else’s ideas because he is expected to deliver.

But how do we market our own work contribution? Does this mean I have to toot my own horn, flatter my boss and behave the way the corporate heathens do?

The space today in this column would not be sufficient so what I will do is to present the steps tomorrow on how to work up the corporate food chain. We need to be productive, but we need to have the passion to pursue our purpose.

(Mark your calendar, as Francis Kong runs his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop on Jan. 16-17, 2018 at SEDA Hotel BGC. For registration and inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at

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