The Easiest Thing I Did to Get Promoted Quickly at Google and Meta Was to 'Eat the Frog' For My Boss This easy-to-follow strategy helped me succeed at work. Here's how to do it.
- Andrew Yeung is a former Meta and Google employee known for throwing tech parties in Silicon Valley.
- He writes that he was able to secure promotions quickly by learning to 'eat the frog' for his boss.
- He figured out which tasks his manager didn't like doing and took them off their plates.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
My first job was at a global advertising agency with over 20,000 employees. I went from being an intern, still in school, to working directly with the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer in under two months.
I found a way to go above and beyond in my role by identifying niche problems and solving them to build trust with my manager.
I would always "eat the frog" for my manager. I identify the work my manager dislikes, such as performing administrative work, and get it done.
Do your current job well
Identify the work your manager dislikes
Learn how to do them
Do them well
During my time at Meta, there was an opportunity to step in to do the operationally rigorous, day-to-day project management. Everyone loved doing the shiny thing — the strategy and project design.
But nobody wanted to do the operational coordination, so I did. This helped me build a name for myself for being an excellent operations person, and I got promoted within 18 months of joining the company.
And then, at Google, our team was responsible for building products and tools for sales teams. One thing our team had to do that was crucial to the business (but was not considered particularly exciting) was the ongoing maintenance of the dashboards that powered the analytics behind the products.
Again, everyone loved product design and strategy, but few wanted to do the backend data work. I volunteered to take on this work from my manager and, over time, built a reputation as a team player who could step in where needed.
Four steps to eat the frog
1. Do your current job well: First, you must do the baseline job well. If you're a data analyst, you need to be doing the data analytics job pretty well. If you're in sales, you need to be selling. And if you're in project management, you need to ensure all the projects are well-managed.
Getting properly onboarded to a role usually takes four to six months. Meta was my first foray into Big Tech, so it took about eight months. Google was fairly quick, though, as I had already done the tech thing. When I was onboarded and had learned how to do the job well, I would try to do it faster or automate it.
At Meta, I delivered a lot of presentations to executives. The first presentation I created took around 20 hours. It may seem like a lot, but a lot of coordination and manual work was required.
Over time, I made extra effort to improve my ability to make high-quality presentations quickly (which involved skills like storytelling, graphic design, and copywriting), and I reduced the time to five hours. At Google, the first draft of a product brief I ever created initially took me 15 hours, and using the same principles, I reduced it to five hours in a couple of months.
I would always try to improve the speed of completing the work without compromising quality. This would free up time and headspace, which I would allocate to new opportunities.
2. Identify the work your manager dislikes: Once you have the bandwidth to take on new projects, start to observe your manager (or leadership team) for opportunities to step in.
How do they spend their time?
What are their top priorities?
What do they like to do?
What do they not like to do?
The last bucket is an easy, low-effort opportunity for you to get involved and deliver immediate value.
3. Learn how to do those tasks: Ask questions, shadow others, and read the documentation to learn how to do the specific activity.
Try not to bother your manager too much (the whole point is to take work off their plate), but if you have to, sell the vision of what you hope to accomplish: to reduce their workload in the longer term.
Once you've done that, remember to document everything to create a playbook. Do this by noting each step required to succeed in the task. Imagine you have to teach someone else how to do the activity down the road.
4. Do them well: Once you've learned the ins and outs of the activity, it's time to execute.
Apply the rigor that you would to the other aspects of your job. Don't compromise on quality — and make sure your core work does not suffer from taking on new projects.
Eating the frog ultimately builds trust and credibility
I've replicated this framework to accelerate promotions throughout my career, at companies like Meta and up until my last role as a global product lead at Google.
Since then, I've advised and coached many early career professionals in product management, business strategy, sales, and operations. They've all adopted this framework to see a massive positive impact.
Eat the frog for your manager to build trust and credibility, so that when the time comes for a promotion or raise, your manager will step up to the plate for you.
Andrew Yeung is a former Meta and Google employee who now throws tech parties through Andrew's Mixers.