Dan Maxwell
October 29, 2019

Have you thought about the PERSON you’re promoting … not just about what they’ve done, but who they are!

It’s a familiar story …. Someone was good at their job. They took the training, developed their skills and gained experience. Then they got promoted … struggled … and eventually, resigned.

This is unfortunate for both the employee and the company. Both time and talent are lost through poor promotion decisions.

Why does it happen? Here are a few possibilities ….

  • Companies neglect to provide the training required.
    • Frontline activities are typically technical, methodical and hands-on, while management roles require independent judgement, interest in building relationships, and willingness to delegate.
    • The skills necessary to succeed in managing and directing don’t come automatically.
  • Companies forget competencies are entirely different for those with responsibility not to do the work, but to get it done.
    • Deciding vs. supporting
    • Interacting vs. analyzing
    • Delegating vs. doing
  • Companies assume technical skill is a key factor to success in management roles.
    • Google did … until they their “Project Oxygen” study. They found it was the soft skills that made Managers successful.

But surely, most companies pay some attention to these things.

It makes sense to invest effort in learning about the PERSON you are giving more responsibility.

Still, it happens. As Dr. Laurence Peter observed, people tend to be promoted beyond their level of competence. (See: New Evidence The Peter Principle Is Real – And What To Do About It.)

How can we do this differently? How can we do better?

We believe there’s an answer in taking a closer look at the PERSON, or more specifically, the personality traits of the Candidate.

It doesn’t need to be complicated or mysterious.

  1. Identify the traits required for top performance e.g. for Management: Assertiveness, Sociability, and Big Picture Thinking.
  2. Find someone who has these characteristics.

The benefit?

  1. The best Candidate will be motivated to do what you want them to do every day.
  2. They will have the natural ability to develop the skills required.

Of course, you’ll need some tools to figure this out – for the Job and the Candidate. But the tools are available, and the insight they provide is invaluable.

Bottom line: it’s important to remember you’re promoting a PERSONALITY!