Promoting managers: The only question that matters


Tom Peters, author and business management wise man. Photo: McKinsey & Co.

What is the number-one criteria to determine if a person deserves to be promoted to a higher managerial position?

Tom Peters, the wickedly insightful author of The Little BIG Things: 163 ways to pursue excellence, advances that there is only one criteria that matters: the candidate’s skill at developing the people under his supervision and making them better.

Therefore, Peters strongly encourages to ask ONE (long) question to evaluate a candidate’s true leadership potential.

I quote:

“In the last year [three years, say, duration of the current assignment], name the three people whose growth you’ve most contributed to. Please explain in some significant detail where each was at the beginning of the year, where he or she is today, and where each is heading in the next 12 and 24 and 60 months. Please explain in some detail your development strategy in each case. Please tell me your biggest development disappointment this past year – looking back, could you have done something different? Please tell me about your greatest development triumph – and disaster – in the last 10 years. What are the ‘three big things’ you’ve learned about ‘people development’ along the way?”

Peters adds that only a successful track record of people development should decide such a promotion, and that a candidate’s claims should always be verified with the individuals he or she claims to have helped.

Thank you, Tom. Point well taken.

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