So you want a promotion?

Recently I have had the opportunity to speak with a number of younger people who are hot on the trail of achievement in business. They all see themselves becoming better paid, and with more responsibility. Some express frustration that it is not happening faster.

I have also been able to observe some of what is holding them back. If you are a business leader looking to delegate a responsibility to someone what are your considerations? Capability; that is a minimum requirement. Desire; again minimum requirement to get a seat at the table. How about Reliability?

We all know capable people we can’t rely on. We also know people with desire that at the end of the day just don’t deliver. No if I want to delegate something important (stepping stone to promotion here) I need someone I can rely on. I need someone I can trust.

The folks at Trusted Advisors Assoc. have, I think, a valuable equation for thinking about trust. It is Credibility + Reliability +Intimacy/Our Self Orientation. Reliability plays a big role in my ability to trust you.

How does one measure reliability? Webster’s succinctly states it is the quality of being dependable. In other words I am reliable if I do what I say I am going to do when I say I am going to do it.

What I observe is young people who are doing all the right things but they just don’t get them done when they say they are going to get them done. The delivery that is due in three business days takes six. The auto repair that is a two hour job becomes six and you have to start changing appointments. You promise to call you at the end of the day and I don’t hear from you.

What level of trust do you think I have in the ability to delegate to you and have the project completed?

What’s happening? Does anyone get up and say’ “I don’t want to be reliable today?” I don’t think so. I think there are a couple of things going on that are easily fixable.

1.    People are overly optimistic about their ability to achieve a goal. They look at it and say it’s a   three hour job (but they don’t factor in the distractions and the things that go bump in the night). – The solution is to also consider what might get in the way and share what that might be. As humans we don’t like surprises.
2.    What my friend Michele calls student timing. This is where students put off until the last minute their project and then cram to get it done. These are the kids that are standing in front of the instructor with all of the things that are happening right now to prevent them from achieving the deadline; (even though they’ve had two months to get started). – The solution is not to procrastinate. Rather to look at the project, determine the steps you think are required and then put those steps in the calendar. A to do list is a list you look at the calendar is where you get things done.

So you want a promotion? Can I rely on you?

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