If you ever hear this line from your boss the short answer is NO. Several years ago, I was offered an AMAZING opportunity to take a LATERAL move by the Director of Sales. He has the uncanny resemblance of Dwight Schrute of The Office without any of the humor. Bad recipe…
I bought into it hook, line, and sinker and regretted it within a few months. A lateral move is really a stall to your career and potential for advancement.
Take 1– you take the role and are excellent at it. In turn, your boss selfishly wants to keep you in the role. This delays a potential promotion for a few years. If you are performing, the typical time in a role unless a company is in hyper growth mode is 2-3 years.
Take 2– your boss that promised you the advanced role assuming you performed in the lateral role moves on and the new manager does not agree with their direction.
Take 3– you struggle to perform in the new role and are pushed into another lateral role.
Take 4– you quit and go back to the role you were in with another company.
All outcomes produce no benefit for you. Just do not do it. The opportunity for advancement will come if they see you as a leader and the lateral move will NEVER be the reason you got there.
The only exception to this is if you are at an executive level (VP and up) and need cross functional experience to move into a CEO level role.
So, the next time you are asked this question politely ask your boss if they have ever taken a lateral role. Odds are they have not…it just doesn’t make sense.