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Six ways to promote from within

 5 April 2021     Donald Cooper 

Most businesses talk about the importance of creating a career path for their best people and promoting from within. But in my experience, there are six approaches to promoting from within and most of them are ineffective. Which of these sounds most like your business?

One: We identify those with the talent and desire to take on additional responsibility and start training, coaching and encouraging them immediately. We help them develop management skills and experience, people skills and judgement. We expose them to new challenges and situations and we listen to their suggestions. Then, we promote them when they’re ready and continue to coach, train, support and encourage them.

Two: We identify those with the talent and desire to take on additional responsibility. We promote them, as needed, and then train, coach and encourage them ‘on the fly’.

Three: We identify those with the talent and desire to take on additional responsibility. We promote them as needed and then let them figure it out on their own. They’ll either sink or swim – and that’s life.

Four: We take talented ‘doers’ and promote them when an opening occurs, whether or not they’re ‘wired’ or interested to be a manager. We assure them it will all be fine and leave them to figure it out. Then, we fire them when they fail.

Five: The person in the department with the highest seniority automatically gets promoted whether or not they have the ability and desire. Their lack of ability to do the job is irrelevant. The business culture, union contract or desire to be politically correct mandates this approach.

Six: When there’s a promotion available, a family member or the bosses ‘favourite’ will automatically get the job, regardless of ability.

So, be honest, which one of these six approaches to ‘promoting from within’ sounds most like your business? Which one makes the most sense as a strategy to grow your business, your team and your bottom line? What action needs to be taken? Who will take it? Starting when?

Here’s a little something else to think about:
My biz quote of the week: “It’s amazing how some managers are not smart enough to do the job but are insecure enough to get rid of anyone who can.”

Many people are abandoning our cities. Several friends and family members have recently abandoned city life in search of a quieter, less expensive, more grounded life in the countryside or small towns.  And technology allows these folks to be employed or self-employed from wherever they want to be.

So, the price of rural real estate is skyrocketing. Recently, a friend paid 44% over the asking price to secure a home in a small town.

This movement to a more remote lifestyle is seen in some recently released stats from the U.S. In 2020, Idaho enjoyed the highest percentage of net migration, with 70% inbound and 30% outbound, a net of plus 40%. South Carolina followed at plus 28%, then Oregon at plus 26%. Meanwhile, Connecticut had a net migration of minus 26%, New York of minus 34% and New Jersey at minus 40%.

This reminds me of a question that I love asking my business coaching clients. “Does your business model serve your life model?” And, sadly, so often the answer is, “Not even close!”

That’s it for this week. Stay safe. Live brilliantly!


Stearns & Foster
Phoenix AMD
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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