Ever think about how decision makers decide on who is promotable and who is not?  There must be a formula or guide to help understand how some people get promoted and others are left behind.  Based on my 40 or so years of experience, I see two sets of criteria that determine who moves ahead.  They are both very easy to see, but more difficult to execute.



  • Individuals who create new ideas to enhance revenue or reduce cost, or have a better way of doing things for efficiency or effectiveness, are recognized by the decision makers
  • Individuals who can take those ideas and help make them work are also recognized
  • Individuals who have no ideas, except how to maintain the status quo are overlooked



  • Individuals who see a problem and provides a solution are rewarded by decision makers
  • Individuals who see a problem and helps to develop alternative solutions are recognized
  • Individuals who can’t see the problem or work around the problem, are overlooked


There seems to be three kinds of people:  Those who make things happen; those who watch things happening; and a number of people who have no idea what’s happening.  It’s not difficult to spot a problem, but those individuals who do something about it, whether it’s developing alternatives or implement a solution, are the ones who move ahead.


Viewed through a different lens, there are Achievers and Grumblers.  You know who they are in your own organization.  Management decision makers also see the differences.  You have to decide which of the two types you are. Achievers get promoted.  Grumblers remain.


Supervisors and managers set the standards on expectations.  If status quo, non-problem solvers, non-engaged or Grumblers dominate the work force, the organizational results will reflect less than desirable outcomes.  The Achievers, engaged problem-solvers and idea generators will either leave the organization or become unproductive if management allows it.   When management sets the bar high enough, the Grumblers and their followers are forced to meet higher standards or be left behind.  If management maintains the highest standards, over time it becomes the expected culture of the organization, affecting hiring decisions, performance, and ultimately who gets promoted to a higher level of responsibility.


How can management raise the standards and culture of an organization?  By providing immediate and clear feedback.  Positive reinforcement is needed for what is being done well, and immediate, strong correction for what is not being done well.  When performance is at a high level, reward it with added responsibility and promotion.  When performance is not at standard or is dragging the organization down, provide corrective action.  If the negative performance persists, move the individual to a place where they can contribute to standard, or remove them.


If you consistently attack problems with alternatives or solutions, your performance will be recognized and rewarded over time.  If not, you are working for the wrong organization.


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By My Greener Future

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