#232: Who Should Climb the Ladder?

How to Determine Who Is a Good Promotion Candidate

It is a rare manager, who, in the span of a career does not wonder how a boss or a peer got their current position.

Woman Ladder

Perhaps that is what led management guru Peter Drucker to say, “The attempt to find “potential” is altogether futile.” In his book, Management Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, Drucker goes on to say that trying to pick out good future managers in a field of candidates is less likely to succeed than just taking every fifth person in the organization.

These situations give us pause to think of Peter’s principle; “Everyone rises to their level of incompetence. The only reason our system does not collapse is that not everyone reaches their level of incompetence at the same time!”

Most managers want supervisors who will get the work done, who will find creative solutions to problems, who will save the company money, and who will develop employees to their fullest potential.

So how do you decide? How do you figure out amongst those fresh, eager faces who will ultimately be the best new supervisor, manager, executive?

While there are no guarantees with anyone, there are ways you can assess individuals to help make your decision of whom to promote the most intelligent one possible.

The assessment process is comprised of three basic steps;

  • Review the candidate’s work record.
  • Interview the candidate.
  • Interview the candidate’s internal and external customers.

This assessment process is complex and will require considerable effort to complete, but will yield supervisors more likely to succeed in their new careers.

Review the Candidate’s Work Record

The place to start evaluating the potential of a candidate is their current work record. The best reflection of what a person will do in the future is what they have done in the past.

Examining the following four areas will help make the first cuts:

1) Attendance record. Review the candidate’s attendance record. Look for consistency.

2) Prior performance reviews. Review the candidate’s prior performance reviews. A strong candidate will show continual improvement.

Look for consistency in their performance over time.

3) Steady growth in job skills. A strong candidate is one who continues to improve in their current job. They ask questions seeking to expand their knowledge of the business. They look for ways to improve that are beyond the scope of their current jobs.

4) Ability to get along with peers. A big part of the new supervisor’s job will be getting work done through others. A good indication of this ability is how they get along with their peers.

Interview the Candidate

If you have the responsibility of promoting someone to the supervisory level you need to make sure that they have the interest and the skills to do the job. The best way to do that, in addition to reviewing their work record, is to interview them for the job. (You wouldn’t offer a job to someone just from reading a resume, would you?)

The promotion interview can take place all at once or over a period of days. If you cover the following six elements, you will increase your chance of selecting the right person the first time.

1) Make sure the person is interested in supervision. It is not true that every individual who does good work in their jobs wants to be promoted. Do not make this assumption!

2) Explain reasons for the promotion. A promotion candidate needs to know why they are being considered for additional responsibility. Don’t assume that they know why. They may, but tell them anyway. In other words, discuss all the success criteria you have established for a supervisor and how this candidate meets those criteria.

3) Outline new responsibilities. To supervise effectively, one must be able to plan, organize, direct, and control work processes. This is significantly different than the worker who is responsible solely for the completion of a task. The candidate needs to understand and accept the responsibility for managing the people involved in the production of the work, as well as the work itself.

4) Determine their views on supervision. Spend some time with the candidate discussing their views about supervision. After all, a worker’s ideas about supervision have been molded mostly by the people that have supervised them. Ask how they view the role of supervisor as different from that of the worker. Ask what they consider as being good and bad characteristics of a supervisor and why.

5) Discuss to whom the new supervisor will report. In these days of matrix management, the question of who you report to is not as simple as it might once have been. The candidate needs to understand who they are accountable to and for what.

6) Discuss the people who will be the new supervisor’s responsibility. Remember, the supervisor is responsible for managing the people doing the work, so they need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of those who report to them.

Interview the Candidate’s Internal and External Customers

The best way to find out how the supervisor candidate works with people is to talk to their internal and external customers. The most obvious group is their peer group.

But many others can provide valuable insight into the potential of an individual. Talk to other people who have contact with the candidate like supervisors or workers in other departments. If your candidate has contact with customers or suppliers, ask for their feedback.

One Final Thought

The job of finding and developing talented supervisors will forever be a difficult task for management. Even the diligent manager who follows each of these guidelines is not guaranteed success. People are not always what they seem. People change. Businesses change. The person who is just right for the job this year may be inadequate in the next decade.

Nonetheless, it is up to you to separate the wheat from the chaff, and in doing so, find the supervisor that may one day become the president of the company.

If you are still having trouble deciding on a candidate, consider Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding the selection of overseers (1 Timothy 3:2-4). In describing the characteristics of a good overseer, Paul used words like temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, and free from the love of money.

If you think about it, these are traits that should apply to all of us, all the time. Make it a point to review this list every morning. It will help keep you focused in the right direction.

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 5-page whitepaper entitled, Who Should Climb the Ladder? How to Determine Who is a Good Promotion Candidate.”

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of how to determine who is a good promotion candidate.

You can download the whitepaper here: Who Should Climb the Ladder? How to Determine Who is a Good Promotion Candidate.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled to make decisions about who to promote? What criteria did you find helpful?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Human Resource Development

#231: Is it Wrong to Leave God out of the Workplace?

A recent survey of professing Christians found that 83% were either very careful about how they integrated their faith in the workplace, or rarely if ever, let anyone in the workplace know about their faith.

Workplace

Respondents gave a number of reasons for their reluctance to let others know about their faith, but the root reason was fear. They were afraid of being judged, of being oppressed or persecuted, or of not being able to defend their faith.

If our work is to be in harmony with God’s will then we cannot leave God out of the workplace!

I believe there are three reasons why we should not leave God out of the workplace: 1) work is Godly, and 2) work is our service to Jesus, and 3) work is our evangelism.

Work is Godly

Beginning with the creation account in Genesis, we see God is a worker. At each stage of creation, God paused to review His work and proclaimed that it was good.

In Genesis 2:15 God placed Adam in the garden of Eden to “work” it. Work was commanded by God, before the fall of man, and it was good. In fact, the word translated “work” in Hebrew is abad. The same word is translated elsewhere as “worship.”

Work is Godly. It was ordained by God. Work is a form of worship to God!

Work is our Service

Numerous passages in the New Testament speak of the grandeur and unity of God’s creation.

Paul, writing to his young protégé Timothy, said, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

God created the concept of work, and here Paul says everything God created is good. Everything here includes work!

Paul, this time writing to the Colossians, says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…it is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Paul makes it very clear that work is one way we serve the Lord. Paul makes no distinction about the type of work that serves the Lord. There is no higher and lower plane. The person in the pulpit serves the Lord in his work just as much as the field worker, the fast food worker, the housekeeper, the office maintenance man, and everyone else does in his/her work.

The relevant question is, “Is this work in harmony with God’s will? Is it of service to Christ?”

Work is our Evangelism

A lot of Christians I know don’t think of themselves as evangelists. But trust me we all are! Whether we like it or not we are in the world, and the world sees Jesus through what they see in us.

Some folks abdicate their responsibility by saying evangelism is the role of the professionals; the pastors, and missionaries.

But that limits our ability to reach the world and does not align with Scripture.

First of all, our pastors have an hour or maybe a bit longer (depending on your denomination) to preach to people, who, for the most part, are already in the boat.

You and I, on the other hand, have 40, 50, or even more hours in the workplace where we have the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ to people who, for the most part, are not in the boat.

Secondly, all Christians have been given gifts for the express purpose of ministering to the body. Writing to the Ephesians Paul said the gifts were, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).

Third, Jesus commanded us to be salt and light to the world.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Salt is a preservative, but if it becomes impure, it loses its ability to preserve. We are to be like pure salt that preserves the Lord’s teaching. If we become impure by accepting a secular worldview our teaching is of no value to the Kingdom.

Light provides direction and enables you to walk securely without stumbling. If the light is hidden under a basket, it is of no use. A Christian who hides their faith is of no use in bringing light to others.

Christian leaders, we must be pure salt and a bright light in the workplace. We must use the gifts and opportunities God has given us to build up the Kingdom.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled to be pure salt and a bright light in the workplace?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Courage/Risk-Taking

 

 

 

#230: How Does the Greek Worldview of Work Compare to the Biblical Worldview?

When I was a young Christian, I struggled with the question of if, or how, I should integrate my faith into the workplace. It turns out a lot of older, more seasoned Christians I turned to for advice had the very same struggles.

Worldview

As I did some research, I found man has been struggling with this question for some time!

Greek Worldview

Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, shunned the God of the Hebrews and instead came up with their own man-centered philosophies to define the world.

Socrates

Socrates developed the “dialectic method” where students came up with their own meaning of justice and goodness. Today, we refer to such constructs as “moral relativism.”

This philosophy claims there are no universal moral truths. In other words, nobody is objectively right or wrong. Moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others. Does that sound familiar?

Plato

Plato developed the concept of “dualism.” Dualism divides man’s experience into two planes; a higher and lower. The higher plane is made up of eternal things, while the lower plane consists of physical and temporal things.  Work was placed in the lower, temporal plane.

Aristotle

A thousand years later, Aristotle merged Plato’s concept of dualism with Christianity. He came up with two planes as well; there was the “contemplative life” and the “active life.” The contemplative life included sacred activities like Bible study, preaching, and evangelism. The active life activities were the secular activities of life. Like Plato, Aristotle placed work in the lower plane.

Thomas Aquinas

Fast forward to the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas furthered the concept of dualism with two planes he called “Grace” and “Nature.” The higher plane of Grace included such things as understanding theology and church matters. The lower plane of Nature included man’s natural intellect (that which did not require revelation from God). Work did not require revelation from God, so it was part of the lower plane of Nature.

Pietist Movement

Philip Jacob Spener founded the Pietist movement of the 17th century. Pietists continued the concept of dualism with even sharper divisions between what they called the spiritual and the material world. The material world, including work, was of no importance. In the pietist’s view, it was impossible to serve God in your work; only when engaged in spiritual pursuits was one serving God.

A graphical view of the Greek dualistic worldview looks like this.

Greek Worldview

 

There are two planes. The upper, or higher, plane is the sacred activities. The bottom, or lower plane, is the secular activities. The sacred activities include things that are spiritual, eternal and the unchanging realm of God in heaven. The secular activities include things that are physical, temporal, and the changing realm of humans on earth.

Fast forward to modern times. Dualism remains with us. Many people, including people of faith, still believe there are higher and lower planes; that some activities related to spiritual things are of the higher plane and they matter to God, while normal activities of life like work are the lower plane and don’t matter to God.

Between moral relativism and dualism, it’s no wonder people are confused about how to integrate their faith in the workplace.

Biblical Worldview

The Biblical view of work stands in stark contrast to the Greek concept of dualism dividing man’s existence into a higher and lower plane.

In the Biblical worldview, the concept of dualism does not exist. Life is not divided into two planes; one higher and one lower. There is no spiritual plane and a secular plane.

Biblical Worldview

Everything including church, school, art, home, music, drama, sports, business, law, labor, agriculture, sex, medicine, and everything else in man’s existence is either in conflict with God’s will or in harmony with God’s will.

That means our work is either in harmony with God’s will or in conflict with God’s will. If our work is to be in harmony with God’s will then we cannot leave God out of the workplace!

Satan would like nothing more than for Christians to remain afraid of sharing the Gospel in the workplace.

Paul, exhorted Timothy, his young protégé not to be afraid of sharing his testimony: “…God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Christian leaders, we must not let the prevalence of moral relativism and dualism in the workplace keep us from our playing our part in accomplishing the Great Commission!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you seen or experienced the Greek worldview of moral relativism or dualism in the workplace? If so, in what way?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Courage/Risk-Taking

 

#229: Achieving Your God Sized, Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal

Think Big, Start Small

As far as I know, Jim Collins was the first person to coin the phrase “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” (or BHAG’s for short) in his 1994 book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

Goals

Jim’ s idea spread quickly through Fortune 500 companies, including P&G where I worked at the time.

A BHAG is a visionary statement that is both strategic and emotionally compelling. At least in the case of P&G, we added the concept that to be a BHAG the idea must be so large, so visionary, that we don’t know how to accomplish it.

A perfect example of a BHAG from my youth was expressed by President John F. Kennedy. In announcing the United States’ intention to lead the world in space, Kennedy said, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

Kennedy could have said “the United States will expand the space program,” but that would not have been visionary or emotionally compelling. Kennedy’s goal was certainly a BHAG because at the time, no one knew had to get a man to the moon, land, and return safely.

Long before Kennedy, another man proclaimed an even bigger BHAG. Jesus said to the disciples, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The disciples, a rag-tag group of doubters and misfits, had no idea what was in store for them. Yet, through them, Jesus’ proclamation changed the world.

Not all of us can change the world through our actions, but we can change or corner of the world. To impact our corner of the world we need to establish our own BHAG’s.

Establish Your BHAG

To achieve a goal, you have to establish a goal.

To achieve a BHAG, you have to establish a BHAG. You have to think BIG! Think so big that it is beyond what you know how to do. Think so big that it is beyond what you are capable of doing. Think so big that the only way it can be achieved is through God’s power.

Paul, writing to the Ephesians said God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). That power at work in us as believers is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!

Do you want to make a God-sized difference in your corner of the world? Then establish a God-sized BHAG; something that can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit working through you!

When you establish a God-sized BHAG, that is aligned with Gods’ will for your life, then you can be assured that “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s provision.

Get Started

But to achieve a God-sized BHAG you have to get started, and the best way to get started is to start small.

There is a Greek proverb that roughly translates, “the beginning is half of every action.” To accomplish any goals, let alone a God-sized BHAG, you have to get started. Getting started is often the hardest first step.

Here are three suggestions to get you started on your BHAG:

Start Small

Start with a small amount of faith and move against your God-sized BHAG.

Jesus told the disciples that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed they will be able to move mountains (Matthew 17:20). The tiniest amount of faith, combined with the power of God can and will accomplish great things.

Pray

Commit your BHAG to the Lord and reinforce your faith with prayer. James admonished believers saying, “You want something but don’t get it…you do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Thank God

Thank God for who He is and what He is doing for you. God is blessing and enabling you to accomplish more than you could ever hope or imagine. So, follow the example of the psalmist who said, “You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you” (Psalms 118:28).

If you want to make a difference in your corner of the world,  establish a God-sized BHAG. Then get to work on accomplishing what God has called you to do by starting small, committing your efforts to the Lord in prayer, and thanking God for his blessings and provision in your life!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you established a God-sized BHAG to impact your corner of the world? If so, any suggestions for the rest of us?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

 

#228: United We Stand, Divided We Fall

This week should be a wonderful week of celebration here in the United States. It is the 241st anniversary of the July 4, 1776, signing of the United States’ Declaration of Independence from Britain.

United We Stand

But, I don’t feel much like celebrating. As I look around the political landscape of our country today, it seems we have not been this divided since the Civil War.

The de facto motto of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum,” was adopted at the same time as the signing of the Declaration. The motto, which translates to “Out of Many, One,” symbolized the strength of the 13 original colonies becoming united as one country.

It was through this united stand that the poorly equipped and largely untrained army of the colonists defeated and won independence from the most powerful country in the world.

Our motto reminds me of the line, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” from Aesop’s Fable, “The Four Oxen and the Lion.”

In this fable, four oxen are arguing with each other and so head off to separate corners of the field to graze. A lion comes along and devours each of the four oxen.

Had they settled their dispute and stayed together they would have been able to fend off the lion.

Divided they fell.

Divided we will fall. Not necessarily to an enemy from the outside. More likely, the enemy is within us. The lion that may devour us is the bitter division of intolerance.

The oxen could not tolerate each other’s differences of opinion, and so they all became lion food.

I fear the same will happen to us.

In late May, Steve Tennes, a Christian farmer in Michigan who lives 22 miles from East Lansing was denied a business permit to sell his crops at the local farmer’s market. Why?  Because he believes God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.

A few weeks ago, actress, preacher, and gospel singer Kim Burrell preached against homosexuality in her church. As a result, her appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show was canceled. Burrell’s radio show was canceled. She was disinvited from an appearance as co-honoree of the BMI Gospel Music Awards. All because she preached a Biblical message in her church.

These are just two of the many examples of Christians who have been marginalized and oppressed for trying to live their lives in a way that honors God and His commandments.

The people who claim to be the most tolerant, are in fact among the least tolerant. They are not willing to let those who do not share their views live amongst them.

This is not a free and open society.

This is a divided, oppressive society.

President Abraham Lincoln, in a speech at the Republican Convention of 1858 said in part,

“We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”

Lincoln’s line, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” is a reference to Jesus’ warning to the disciples about the importance of unity in the Church.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” Matthew 12:25.

We cannot exist as a productive society as long as there are those who seek who do away with God and His plan for humanity.

Christians, remember Jesus’ warning, “…every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

Let us come together as believers, setting aside our minor differences, and agree to unite against the common enemy that confronts us.

As long as we are in different corners of the pasture, we will become lion food.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you experienced oppression for maintaining your Christians values?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Values