One of my advisory clients recently asked for my advice on who to promote into a newly vacated position. You might be surprised by my answer.
I told him not to look at past performance. Instead, look at the skills needed to do this new job. Here’s why.
Let’s take the all-too-common situation of promoting your best sales person into a sales leadership role. What typically happens is that you lose three (or more) great people by doing this. First, you lose a great sales person, which means there is a good chance you’ll see a decline in your revenues. Next you lose the person or people who are now reporting to this person, who in most cases doesn’t have what it takes to be a great leader. And then, you lose the person who really should have gotten the job, but didn’t, as they’ll quit when they learn the position didn’t go to them.
List the skills needed to be successful in this job. If no one inside the firm has those skills, then look to the outside. The last thing you want to do is set someone up for failure, which is exactly what you’ll do if you insist on promoting people purely based on their past performance.