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The dangers of too much internal promotion

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

This is what happens when there is too much internal promotion. There is stability and continuity and there is stagnation and complacency . After years of coasting the organisation had gradually slipped into decline. The world had changed but those in the organisation had never moved out of their comfort zone.

Like a satellite in orbit around the earth, once it had been the bright new thing the very essence of cutting edge technology but gradually over the years it had been surpassed by smarter models and now it was in a descending orbit being pulled with ever increasing certainty into earth atmosphere where it would burn up . Unless dramatic action was taken.

The rescue plan started with a shake up at the top and continued with a management cull through out the organisation. Painful surgery but skilful. Cut too deep, take out vital organs and kill the patient don’t cut deep enough and the patient dies anyway just more slowly. There had been restructuring before but always slotting in existing managers to the new roles.

Not surprisingly they carried on acting in the old ways. New ideas were discussed and discarded they wouldn’t work here, people outside the organisation didn’t  appreciate the uniqueness of the situation, the size, the complexity, the history,  local circumstances and the benefits of stability.

Everyone had to apply for their own job. The point was it wasn’t their job it was a new role and a new JD. All posts were to be advertised externally and filled by competitive interview. Internal candidates were not guaranteed  an interview.  Interview panels had to be different, more diverse ( more forward thinking) to ensure posts were not filled by younger versions of existing managers.

Diversity was the key. The risk adverse culture had to be challenged and replaced. Managers professional background was no longer as important as their people management skills. Management skills were transferable it was good to move people outside their comfort zone,  they were more open  to working  in different ways, more prepared to try new things, more creative.

Some good people were lost to the organisation in transition but many more were attracted by the excitement of radical change  and the chance to be part of something inovative. Existing talent with in the organisation was allowed emerge and flourish. Of course some people longed for a period of stability after the turmoil but decline was arrested. The organisation once again had a bright future.

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