By Louis Altazan
Published: October 5, 2008

I recently received an article from a friend. In it were examples of people being promoted because they did a great job. Everyone has seen examples of the great salesperson, who becomes the mediocre sales manager and so on. Still, it is in the nature of people to seek promotion, a feeling of moving ahead.

Is it time business redefines promotion?

Acknowledged or not, most business has compartments for each of their staff positions. In the compartment is a range of salary and prestige the occupants may hope to achieve. What are considered lower level jobs, have less salary and prestige than what are considered higher level jobs. This creates [an artificial] desire to advance from one level to the next. Doing so is seen as "moving up" and natural for people to desire.

It normally takes many years for a person to master the nuances of a position.† To become great at almost any task normally takes time.† I believe what companies need are people in key positions that are great at what they do.† A great receptionist can have a great deal to do with the success of the company.††I feel it is a shame†they have to leave the position they have mastered in order to advance.

Suppose instead a company were to revere and reward itís people based on contribution rather than title? In fact, why not dispense with the titles all together? For example rather than a†receptionist why not just Joe or Sue? If Joe or Sue contributes more to the success of the company than the person now called manager, why shouldnít they be paid more and have greater say in the company?

I know this is very radical thinking and would require an extensive change of current thinking. That does not mean we cannot start to work toward such a system. I think it is a shame that a person who is great at what they do needs to leave that job to feel they are advancing. A redefinition of advancement is in order, in my opinion.

  • This must start by changing compensation relative to title.

  • From there the prestige of position needs to shift to prestige based on ability.

  • Responsibility should be given to those who earn it.

  • Meaningful decisions come from those qualified to make them.

A nation that does not revere itís plumbers on an equal basis with itís philosophers is likely to have poor philosophy and bad plumbing?

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