Tag Archives: promotion

You Have a Hunch

“You have a hunch, let’s call it intuitive judgment, that this team member might be effective at a higher level of work. You observe evidence of that potential in current projects, and in the pace and quality of current work output. She is helpful to other people she works with and coordinates her work handoffs so they are seamless. So, what is your question?” I asked.

“There is an open position. I think I would like to promote her,” Maryanne shrugged her shoulders.

“So, if you promote her, and it doesn’t work out, what do you have on your hands?” I pressed.

“You’ve told me before, a chocolate mess.”

“So, how will you test her in the role you are thinking about?”

Outbound Air, Levels of Work in Organizational Structure, by Tom Foster, is now available for Kindle, soon to be released in softcover.

Outbound Air

Should I Promote Based on a Hunch?

“I have someone that I have been watching,” Maryanne started. “I think they have the potential to move into the open manager spot on my team.”

“What makes you think this person would be successful?” I asked. “What is the evidence of potential that you see?”

“It’s just a hunch,” she replied.

“So, you are going to give someone a promotion based on a hunch?”

“Okay. I know you want me to slow down,” she agreed.

“So, tell me. What evidence of potential do you see?” I repeated.

“How can you see potential?” she asked. “How can potential be more than a hunch?”

“Most of the time, if a person has potential for higher levels of work, there is evidence. Your hunch is based on something you see. What did you observe in this person? What is the evidence?”

Outbound Air, Levels of Work in Organizational Structure, by Tom Foster, is now available for Kindle, soon to be released in softcover.

Outbound Air

Test With Project Work

Hiring Talent Summer Camp starts in two weeks.
“What could I have done differently?” Joyce asked. “I thought Phillip was the right choice. I know now, that I was wrong, but how do you make the decision on whether or not to promote someone?”

“Why did you think he was a candidate for promotion?” I asked.

“Well, he has been with us for a little over a year. He knows the ropes. He was a team leader, had the respect of his team,” Joyce replied.

“And what level of work do you think he is capable at?”

“Well, based on what we have been talking about, his current capability seems to be about four weeks or a little more, but not a lot more.”

“So, how could you find out how much more?”

“Well, he was successful at four weeks. I could have given him a task that took six weeks to complete, or eight weeks.”

“Exactly,” I pointed out. “The best way to determine performance is with project work. The problem with project work, is that, until we talked about Time Span, you had no way to determine the level of work. With Time Span, you can measure with more precision. Your job, as his Manager, becomes more precise.”

Promoted to Manager

Now, we were in a pickle. Our top salesperson for last year, $450,000 in gross sales, was on the chopping block to be fired.

In January, he had been promoted to sales manager, moved to a guaranteed salary equal to last year’s total comp, and now he was failing. Relieved of all, but the most critical accounts, he was supposed to be leading the sales group, holding meetings, inspiring, helping others to set targets and holding them accountable. As a salesperson, he was great, as a sales manager, he was the pits.

Classic mistake. Take your best producer, whether it is in sales, production or research and make them the manager. Management requires a totally different skill-set, with a high interest in getting people to work together, miles apart from producing technical work.

Once done, tough to get undone. No one likes to move backwards. Most importantly, whose fault was it?

Who to Promote, Who to Let Go?

“Yes,” Roger nodded. “Grading my sales team into these six bands of effectiveness helps me see what to do next.”

“How so?” I prompted.

Personal Effectiveness

Personal Effectiveness

“The temptation is to keep all the people in the top half of the banding and terminate the people in the bottom half. But now I have more judgments to make, as a manager.”

“There’s more?” I pressed.

“Yes. I have one salesperson, in the top of the top half, that needs leadership training. In another year, I want to move that salesperson into a more complicated product line, with a longer sales cycle, working with a special sales team.”


“And,” Roger stopped. “And I need to terminate five out of the seventeen people I have on my team.”

“How did you reach that conclusion?” I asked.

“Again, it wasn’t difficult. I have been making excuses for them, sent them to training, tried to motivate them, offered a bonus. Funny, paying people more money doesn’t make them more competent. Once I did the analysis, it became very clear. I made some very poor hiring decisions.”
Barnes and Noble picked up Hiring Talent. Matching Amazon’s promotion pricing.