What do you think about
getting promoted?

Don’t fall into the trap!

Who doesn`t want to be promoted? The most frequent answer is: all of us! This is exactly what drives us to achieve our goals every day. In my professional life, the world of smaller or bigger, local or international organizations, this is the “reason why” I have been trying to deliver results and meet the expectations on daily basis.

There are two different factors that fuel this drive. In general, psychology calls them internal & external factors. External includes: salary increase, higher segment of a company car, more luxurious office or more lucrative benefits and/or incentives etc. Internal means getting recognized and acknowledged. In other words, to get the sense of achievements in what you do. Although the latter is not tied to material benefits as such it means a lot or even more to an employee. In the perfect world both of them should be closely tied. And it might even happen. At least sometimes.

These aspects of getting promoted are known and have been described and addressed many times before. What I would like to focus on is another side of the story, meaning costs. Have you ever thought of what the personal cost of getting promoted is ?

Most probably not. Neither have I. My recruitment process for the CEO position took 6 months to complete. Quite a long time to get all aspects into careful consideration. I was presented with all benefits several times. However, in any of these 7 meetings no one whispered a single word about the potential costs I would have to pay accepting this role.

What costs do I have in mind?

On the one hand, this is the responsibility for people and their families. On the other hand, it is having the last word in all minor and major decisions (including the areas that are not your expertise). Finally, it is also being the only one responsible who must “know what to do” in the situations where no one really knows what to do, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking at costs from another perspective, people commonly think that the higher position you take the less time you work. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that you never stop thinking, analyzing and drawing conclusions. This actually means that you never stop working.

What surprised me as well was that when you take a CEO position, you actually don’t live the present life – you have to be a step ahead everyone else. So you very rarely solve daily issues – this is what your managers do. That is basically the difference between the management and leadership. In return, you estimate, invent, follow the trends, look for niches, strive to follow technology and innovation, take care about company networking and employer branding. In other words, in result, you are somewhere out there even if you would like to be here, with the Team.

Last but not least, there is everyone, everyday watching you. Every breath you take, every move you make  How you behave? How you dress? How you look today? Do you really live companies values? Do you have time and a smile for everyone? Are you kind? Do you often spill your beans? Are you happy or are you upset? Are you full of energy or are you tired and miserable? Do you really believe in all targets or not? You should constantly stay on your toes, remain attentive and always have a positive and supportive approach. Is it possible to do this evenly, every day? Certainly not.

Please don`t get me wrong. I am very happy of being where I am. No regrets. I learnt my lesson well but know that the key issue is to communicate all aspects during the recruitment processes. Being as much transparent as it is only possible. Naming all challenges and risks at the very start.

Listing not only benefits but naming potential costs as well. This helps making better and more informed decisions which results in faster and more effective starts into a new role. There is nothing worse than being disappointed and demotivated at the very beginning of a new job when all the curtains fall and imagination collides with the reality. This is the moment when it bites.

Apparently, as in everything in life, the balance between the benefits and challenges is the key. However, if someone is going to freak out – better do it at the recruitment stage. Would you agree?


June, 2022

“If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach.”

Larry Page,

CEO of Google