There is a Coke Zero add that has been airing for a while that follows a person through life asking “and?” of everything that is presented to him. You may have seen it. A simple ice cream cone becomes a cone with sprinkles and a cherry on top. A simple job offer becomes stock options and a yacht by asking this simple question. It is a fun commercial and there is a great career lesson in the “and?” question.
I recently attended a corporate gathering of hopeful young managers gathered for a Q&A about future leadership positions within a company. Of 10,000 applicants for the position less than 100 will be selected each year. One of the facilitators of the gathering explained this competitive landscape to the group. He also did them a great service; he correctly reminded them that they’re knowledge and experience of the day to day duties of the role would not be a significant factor in the hiring decision. After all, that’s your job. It is what you are paid to do every day. In other words, it’s what we would expect of all applicants for the position and it does not provide one ounce of advantage to your candidacy. What do you bring to the organization? It’s the “And?” that follows your execution of the day to day responsibilities that will make the difference.
What is the “AND?” that you bring to your current position? Start there, build there, and the story you will have to tell when exploring a promotion or a new position will be a compelling one.