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Letters to a Young Manager

What's the Next Step? , #12
LTYM > Managing People II

Dear Sophie,
I appreciate the dilemma you are facing, with ambitious team members, but no career paths up-the-ladder. This is especially a challenge in organizations that are cutting back, with little to no new positions to apply for. What do you do?

I once took a position leading a dozen smart and ambitious consultants. They wanted to know about the next step and how to get there. And they were impatient. So what we did was take the consulting position and turn it into a three-level track. We hired any new employees at the associate consultant level. Part of the requirements to move to a full consultant role was the number of successful client projects they worked on and how many years of experience they had on the job. The minimum was two-years to be considered for the next level.

The requirements for a senior consultant were naturally harder. It had a teaching element and also had a time requirement. Five years experience as a consultant were required to be considered for the senior role.

People had to work hard to make the next level. And the competition ratcheted up a notch among the team. They were not competing with each other, but with themselves. The objectives were totally under their control.
What this did was create a seven-year plus career path with the same number of employees. We did this by creating "in place" career paths.

What also happened is that rather than feel stagnated in their jobs, people took pride in achieving objectives and earning the next position.


People work harder, and take pride in, achieving new levels, even if "in place"

Discussion Questions:

1) What are the ways to avoid the feeling of stagnating, dead-end jobs?
2) If you knew the steps you needed to accomplish to achieve the next career level, would you work harder for it?
3) What would have to be true for this to work for your organization?

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