Mould yourself. Reaching the top isn't just about results; it's about fitting in with those who are already there. Know your business leaders inside out: their working styles, past successes and failures and how these have shaped their judgement. Use every interaction to show you're one of them.
Ditch the details. Always talk about outcomes and benefits over process and activity. Leaders want to know what they're getting from you, not what you're up to. Get personal. Position your promotion as the answer to your manager's problems. Does the department lack strategic focus? Being able to delegate would free up the boss for vital planning. Is it product knowledge he worries about? Run training sessions.
Take criticism on board. If you disagree, make minor (but visible) adjustments to show you're willing to change.
Save up successes. Build credibility over time by consistently exceeding expectations, but schedule big triumphs to coincide with your review as a well-timed reminder of your brilliance.
Focus, focus, focus. Of your activity, 80% should be directly in line with business priorities. Leave anything that upsets the balance to your staff and forget the rest. No one will notice.
Show devotion. Ooze commitment to the cause and those at the top will want you in a role where your energy can influence others. Not a true crusader? Fake it with vibrant language ('energised', 'inspired', 'thrilled') and a big smile. Bring proof. Demonstrate your contribution to the business with indisputable facts. Qualitative data is good; quantitative is better; results presented in pounds , dollars and EUR are best of all.
Stick at it. Staying power is one of the most important but least recognised attributes of successful leaders. If you don't make promotion this time, don't give up. Capture the insights, adapt and come back stronger.
The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 - www.themindgym.com/books.