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Promoting Engineers


Promoting Engineers

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Promoting Engineers

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davoscollective
davoscollective
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There's a great book covering exactly this called the E-Myth. Basically the myth is that all people who start small businesses are Entrepreneurs.

The truth is that most are technicians who are really good at their craft and know that they could make more money and be more effective if they were in charge.

The result is that most struggle with the transition between technician and manager because they are completely different skill sets. Most former technicians struggle to give up technical control and end up micro-managing and not realising that they can't do two jobs at once (or many more).

The advice is to plan a business by allocating all the roles considering expansion. Whilst you may be the technician & the consultant & the accountant & do the payroll & the hiring & the marketing & be the CEO all at once to begin with, ultimately you need to give up all of these roles as you hire new people.
Ian Elliott
Ian Elliott
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Completely agree with this one. At my current job I've started as standard IT Support and in my many years here I've grown and now do additional roles like DBA, Developer, Process Manager. However my job title has never changed and as people in our dept leave (move on, fired, redundancy etc) I'm always thrust back into the standard IT Support role.

It's very frustrating that after so many years and my increased skillset I'm still viewed as a support person. I've raised this point in many appraisals and while everyone agrees that I should have and deserve a career path it just never happens.

I'm now back to being a support person again and have been pretty much told that I'll be in this role for the foreseeable future and that there are no plans to hire another support person to allow me to continue becoming something more. Very frustrating. Angry
majorbloodnock
majorbloodnock
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Never, ever promote your best salesperson

Seems to me this is treating your best salesperson as a commodity; Deploy them where they're most effective and exploit their abilities to the full. But what about what they want? As with Ian Elliott, if you keep someone in a job they're great at, you may well get lots of benefit now but not have them at all within a year. Of course you shouldn't promote someone into a job for which they're not suited, but employment is a balance of mutual benefit; only as long as both sides are getting out more than they're putting in does the contract continue.

Therefore, for all I agree with Steve's conclusions - that you need to provide wider career options than just promotion to line management - I disagree with several aspects of the article that prompted Steve to write the editorial.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Dave23
Dave23
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I'm very fortunate to work for a company that understands that in many cases, the absolute last thing a skilled senior technologist wants is to be promoted into management. To account for this, we have a dual track for advancement. At a recent company meeting, our CEO re-emphasized his commitment to ensuring that all employees have the capability of moving up in a way that allows us to focus on where we want to be.
Steph Locke
Steph Locke
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First off - the Peter Principal
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/01/random-promotion-research

If you've ever thought you boss was incompetent - it could be because he was too awesome at his last job and they foolishly promoted him :-)

I think the completely different workload from being the 'go-to' thinker/doer to meetings, delegations and touchy-feely reviews is something that most people would struggle with and would find a long learning curve for that would present as 'incompetence'.

Personally, being a people-manager is not something I'd like to do, I can admire good people-managers particularly those who have good technical knowledge but for myself the challenge of making a team the most effective possible is much less interesting than implementing a new report system.
Eric M Russell
Eric M Russell
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Most sales professions get paid on commission, so it seems to me that a company's "best" sales people (those who consistently open a large number of high value accounts) should be happy with their arrangement, and the company should be happy for all their productive efforts.
If that's not the case, if the best sales people arn't happy with their commissions or the company isn't happy with what they contribute, then there is something wrong with the incentive program or the company's goals.


"The universe is complicated and for the most part beyond your control, but your life is only as complicated as you choose it to be."
majorbloodnock
majorbloodnock
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Eric M Russell (5/1/2012)
Most sales professions get paid on commission, so it seems to me that a company's "best" sales people (those who consistently open a large number of high value accounts) should be happy with their arrangement, and the company should be happy for all their productive efforts.
If that's not the case, if the best sales people arn't happy with their commissions or the company isn't happy with what they contribute, then there is something wrong with the incentive program or the company's goals.

That's only true whilst money remains the sales professional's major motivator. In reality, we all move on as priorities change.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
chrisfradenburg
chrisfradenburg
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I actually have moved to management and then back down at the same company. I and three others got promoted to Team Leads as our support team grew. Around the same time I took responsibility for our monitoring application which meant any further coding that needed to be done, managing the install process, and a major upgrade to go along with it. And, also right around the same time, I was handed the job of fixing our e-prescribe installation process for the product. Included with that was responsibility for the hosted version of the product since the only module on that was the e-prescribe module. Meanwhile, the other team leads only had their team lead responsibilities.

Needless to say that I got burnt out with all the managing since I went from being all technical to not having any time for anything technical unless there was a major fire. I switched from Support to Upgrades and that transition went very smoothly. I kept the friends in Support and was able to offer advice from my time there and get feedback on things that Upgrades (and later Dev when I moved there) could do better. I think changing departments helped out a large amount there. As was the fact that it was my choice instead of something that was recommended to me.
TravisDBA
TravisDBA
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Nothing is more frustrating than trying to relate a difficult technical issue to a non-technical manager after he/she asks you what the problem is. My dad used to have a good analogy: "If you are going to manage a bunch of janitors, then you should know how to use a mop." :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
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