Stop Promoting People

I recently attended an off-site meeting for one of our major clients where we discussed how to deal with people who are doing a good job in their current capacity but don’t have promotion potential. To the client this seemed like a big problem. To us, it’s an opportunity for corporate America to take a lesson from the arts.

Picasso wasn’t interested in becoming a curator. Meryl Streep is an extraordinary actress, but that doesn’t mean she wants to or would be any good at running a studio. Why does corporate America insist on taking your job away from you if you’re good at it and serve it up as a promotion?

In Bang! we advocate horizontal advancement versus vertical ascension. If people are doing a wonderful job, they most likely love what they are doing. Promotions often propel people into an area that is not their bailiwick but it’s taboo to ask for your old job back. A self-imposed demotion, no way.

It’s no wonder those people look so happy on the red carpet. Actors and actresses are rewarded with higher salaries and juicier roles not new positions. Moving up the ladder can easily lead to a place where one’s greatest gifts are never used. Our advice… stop promoting people, reward them for the great job they do and see just how far they (and the company) will go.

What’s your point of view on the subject? We would love to know!