Why do people get promoted in organizations? There are a variety of reasons and they vary from organization to organization. It's our individual challenge to find out what matters in our particular workplace and whether we have what it takes to move ahead, or can acquire such attributes. That's the highest and best use of our time, as far as applying ourselves to further our careers in a specific organization.
Does skill matter? Absolutely. But ability and talent only go so far. I've learned that repeatedly during my career. Moreover, I've observed that individuals who build strong relationships throughout the organization, particularly with senior managers, help themselves significantly as far as finding new work opportunities. I've been told that having an advocate or champion in an organization when applying for a new position is vital -- and such advocacy only happens by reaching out, making connections, getting to know people, and allowing them to get to know you.
(Six related posts continue this discussion of internal networking. Check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 (this post), part 5, part 6, and part 7.)