Going for promotion nowadays can be tough. It may seem like the odds are stacked against you with dozens if not hundreds of qualified officers queuing up for a chance when the next process is announced. Many officers are ready for ‘immediate promotion’ or at least are supported as such, yet have to navigate their way through what is an ever more competitive and often perceived unfair process.
Our work with officers nationwide has confirmed a ‘pattern’ to promotion success. This isn’t a guaranteed pass but for those few who consistently perform well (and generally don’t know how) they follow, unknowingly, a set pattern. This doesn’t just apply to police promotion – it crosses into all sectors that undertake competency based assessment.
First we need to address the issue many officers have with ‘competency-based assessment’, recently described by one client as a ‘dated 80’s logic that clearly didn’t work for banking’! Does it work? Is this the best means of selecting the best candidates?
The issue here is not the principle of competency-based assessment but candidates’ understanding and too frequently how a process is locally administered. As the standard assessment and selection method world-wide, a properly designed and administered competency-based process is regarded as an effective means of ‘sifting’ applicants and identifying suitable candidates. It is critical however that candidates understand what they are being measured on and how they are assessed. This we will talk about in more detail in the next article.
Next is this issue of candidates being “coached’ through the process. Does coaching effect behaviour and is it effective? Well, of course! Performance coaching is common in every walk of life, from sport to business, from parenting to policing. Promotion and assessment coaching is about helping you be the best you can, maximising your strengths and focusing on areas to develop, and it is both commonplace and absolutely appropriate. Arguably, it’s just too hard to do without help (the right help!). Here lies the challenge with police culture towards learning and professional development, recognising the need to take greater personal responsibility, looking beyond the boundaries of the organisation. Performance coaching creates a safe environment to learn, identifying gaps in your knowledge and technique (blind spots) between where you actually are and where you need to be – and most importantly, helping you get there.
So, you must know what to expect. There is no question that this, combined with a positive attitude, will move you into the high scoring zones. It will achieve success. Positive attitude with a proper understanding of knowing how to prepare results in highly effective delivery, when it counts. Delivery matters!
Here we introduce our ‘3 Pillars of Success©’ – Content, Structure and Delivery.
We start with Content. Content is what comes out of your mouth (for example in an interview, presentation or role-play exercise) or off your hand (e.g. application form, e-tray/POINT or written exercise). Your Content must be relevant, no matter how interesting you think your response may, or more likely may not be. What is absolutely relevant to the assessor – are you scoring quickly or are you waffling?
Next is Structure. Structure is central to ensuring your content is focussed, relevant and influential. Structure keeps the candidate and assessor on track. This will keep your assessor engaged. The right structure is essential for each assessment stage – there should be no surprises. Mastering the right structure significantly builds confidence and helps manage nerves.
Finally, you must know how to deliver. Of course, content and structure are important, but delivery is perhaps the most critical. Effective content and structure with a dead-pan, ‘I’m not interested’ delivery (whether it be intentional or a product of nerves) can be assessment disaster. This is about creating energy. This is about creating impact.
Before putting yourself forward for the next promotion or selection process, make sure you think about these key pillars. Don’t enter the process with one (or both) hands tied behind your back.
We are passionate about helping officers maximise their performance and work towards promotion success. This isn’t an easy journey whatever the assessment type or selection process.
In our next Police Oracle article in a fortnight we will cover the different assessment types and importantly how the promotion process is assessed.