Should You Promote From Within?

22 December 2021

We were recently doing a deep dive analysis of the specific reasons that had driven our client to their best year ever. One of the key reasons was that their top-performing sales superstar had been bringing in a consistent flow of new business. As further growth was part of their strategy, they were considering hiring more salespeople.

More critically, to keep their star salesperson motivated, they thought it would make perfect sense to reward her with more responsibility, promoting her to sales manager to manage the incoming employees.

Here’s why that may be a really bad idea and could be doing their superstar a disservice.

Analyse the skillset

Before you consider promoting someone to a new position in your business, be very clear that the person you’re promoting has the know-how, the understanding, the skill set, and the desire to do the job they are currently doing.

Remember, you don’t manage people, you manage the activities of your people. And if you are unclear about what activities they can and cannot do, you could be making a mistake.

There are important decisions you need to make as the leader of your business – and filling the roles in your business are the pivotal ones that can make or break your business. Take your time and consideration, it will be more than worth the effort.

It isn’t the ONLY option

I understand that for our people to be excited, they should know that they have chances of progressing within the company. As the owner of the business, yes, that’s the first place you should look when there are promotions or vacancies within the business. However, at the same time, I often see many business leaders looking at it as the only option.

In my opinion, it’s a lazy option.

Many business leaders see an employee doing well, business is growing and now they want someone to supervise multiple sites or multiple team members. They will look at that superstar or they look at their most loyal person and decide to promote them.

In this scenario, a couple of things could happen. You could have the superstar become a super-superstar and release time and room within the business for yourself. But generally what happens is that when it’s done lazily and not enough thought has been put into it, then you simply end up promoting your superstar to his or her level of incompetence.

This is a very key point – that you end up holding people to their level of incompetence.

Often, it could be that they’re not good at managing the activities of people. What they were good at were the activities they had been excelling at over the last year.

See my article on the key characteristics of a sales superstar here, for more on what you should be looking for in the perfect salesperson.

Do they fit the new requirements?

When you are promoting people within, be very clear that the personalities fit the requirements of that position, and that the person will excel in their new role too. Make sure you’re not converting your feelings towards a member into an overhead for the business just because you think that’s the best option at the time.

I have seen many such instances, where the costs have shot up and the performance has gone down with such simple decisions. At the same time, I have seen this decision become the best decision that they could have made.

It is essential to be mindful when you promote within because it has to be a strategic decision and not a lazy decision.

If you would like to hear more about this please feel free to get in touch below, whether it be to discuss this or any other burning issue for your business right now.


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