Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

If you could create a promotion within your existing job, what would you say?

I have been asked from my Senior VP of Business Development to come up with benchmarks in my current position that would give him enough ammo to promote me to a Senior Director, National Accounts.  This title is usually given to people who have departments reporting to them. Unfortunately, my position requires me to have dotted line leadership rather than direct.  I told him that I have done this job for the past 8 years and not to seem too confident, have excelled in all aspects of this current role.  I could put past accomplishments on paper to design a reason for a promotion but it wouldn't be benchmarks that I can attain to but rather a list that I have already checked off. So the question is,  how would you construct requirements for a promotion in a current role your in?

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Hi John,

Oh my, you are making me work again like a RVP sitting in those bench mark meetings to identify promotion candidates!  Let me start that when one is being considered for a job with National Responsibility there are certain Core and Measurable Skills Sets that are looked for, once those are met, then the other more difficult to measure is the "It factor".

Some of the more important skills when going up the ladder, become even more valued and frankly the bar is raised higher on the level of proficiency that is required.  Problem solving and all the elements it involves, right down to successful execution is highly valued.  Every promotion to higher levels within an organization requires a higher level of proficiency in problem solving and execution to successful resolve.  The process and how someone carries this task off will separate a mere problem solver from a true leader; leaders get promoted.

In attempt to build measurable and quantitative benchmarks, I would first like to examine the usual steps of problem solving within an organization and let's use a team think-tank meeting hosted by corporate with your own National Accounts Department present (all members) or even better, cross functional representation (National Accounts, Sales, Human Resources, CEO or etc.).  

Solving Complex Problems

Surviving in the current business environment, especially the world of medical devices, takes extreme problem solving and the skill sets needed:

  • First identify the overall problem, identify the many segments or parts of the problem and then the ability to articulate or communicate that in a way that others also can understand the scope of the problem and it's underpinnings. 
  • Leading constructive conversations within teams that help produce effective strategy to resolve the problem(s).  This would be a skill that goes beyond just offering up ones own ideas for resolve, but participating in a way that supports others views in the group and perhaps offering up ideas that change the discussion in a radical way that other's seize upon in the team and actually a solution is formulated from that initial spark.
  • Constructing and active engagement in developing the plan to a point of implementation that reflects the overall strategy that was agreed upon.  
  • Successful execution of the strategy that garners a landslide of positive results.  The execution is done in a manner that garners support from dotted line authority and positive recognition from internal customers and perhaps even external customers.  It may be unspoken, but all parties could recognize the leadership and abilities it took to accomplish the task at hand.

So my first suggestion is to put your mind at work identifying those type of settings you have been involved or will be involved within; bench mark those behaviors and outcomes that reflect this core skill set.  Keep in mind the "It Factor", without "It" you may be doing a busy exercise that helps management keep you actively engaged.  The "It" is being perceived as a Leader.  Everyone must look deep within themselves and ask, "Do people see me as a Leader within the organization at all levels (including peers)."   Someone can have all the right motions and successful outcomes (hitting all the apparent benchmarks), but leadership qualities are either not there, or not there yet or perhaps they have leadership qualities, but the company culture is such that they do not value the style of leadership the person presents to the company.

This last point is very important.  I have witnessed people passed over for promotion due to the later point (company culture fit).  Those same passed over candidates would leave the company and go to another company culture and attain a Vice President level elsewhere!

So on the surface, I suggest Bench Marking against situations that involve the Complex Problem Solving, but never keep your eye of basic Leadership qualities as well.  I will address that perhaps in another Blog and tie it in on this forum.

There is so much more to discuss here and I welcome any other comments.  Do email me with anything you do not want on this public forum too John.

Some nice thought went into this response Linda,  I will take your advice and come up with some ideas to present.  Possibly email you to kick it around a bit.

thanks,

John

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