May 04, 2011

Passed Over For A Promotion

I'm willing to bet that all of you have, at one time or another, been passed over for a promotion, right?

This is a situation that the CEO deals with in Gliebers Dresses: Catalogs on Trial (Amazon Kindle, B/N Nook, $0.99).  An obviously qualified candidate is compared to outside talent.  Who will be promoted?  Will internal staff be passed over for a promotion?

Corporate America is one big tournament, a pyramid scheme of sorts.  At one point in my tenure at Nordstrom, I was responsible for twenty-four individuals.  I was a VP, I had three Directors, with twenty folks of varying experience and titles reporting into the three Directors.

Twenty individuals fighting for three Director positions.

Three Directors fighting for one VP position.

Life isn't fair.

I came into Nordstrom from the outside.  And I was ultimately finished at Nordstrom by somebody who was hired from outside the company.

In other words, many deserving folks were passed over for a promotion when I was hired, and may folks were passed over for a promotion when it was my time to move on.

And when I got to Nordstrom, I brought with me a significant amount of outside talent.  When I was given broader responsibilities two years later, I did the opposite --- I took advantage of internal skills that I felt were sufficient to do the job.  Each situation is unique.

In an effort to boost "engagement", why not use the comments section of this post to discuss how you make decisions to promote people?  And if you've been passed over for a promotion, how did you deal with the pain associated with the decision?  Discuss!