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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

There’s a First Time For Everything 

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Launching yourself into a police promotion process can be a challenging mission.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon said something quite striking when he was asked what it felt like. His response was this: “It felt like I had been there a thousand times before”.

That’s a powerful indication of the link between solid preparations and successful completion of the mission.

Deliver, Support and Inspire

President John F. Kennedy’s speech ‘Lets go to the moon’

In 1962 was incredibly inspiring, paving the way for NASA and the moon landings with a statement of massive human ambition. I’ve paraphrased it below; to reflect the ambition, drive and energy you’ll need just to achieve lift off towards reaching your goal.

“I choose to seek promotion and develop myself in the process, not because it is easy, but because it is hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of my energies and skills, because the challenge is one I am willing to accept, unwilling to postpone, and one I intend to win.” Houston, we have a solution.

First Things First

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than the knowledge that is idle” – Khalil Gibran

I want you to pass your police promotion board the first time. But there are no guarantees. None whatsoever.


Carpe Diem

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

Underestimate time it takes to transform to match fit candidate 

In my experience, many aspiring police leaders simply underestimate the time it takes to transform from good operational cop into a ‘match fit’ promotion candidate. For some, it’s a conscious choice to delay and put off preparation.

Others gamble with their chance.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s an opportunity missed.

And it happens, with vast cohorts, every year.

For those who do seize the day, there’s a direct correlation with first-time promotion success. Says who? Says me.

Often many people are kind enough to update me on the outcome of their promotion processes i’d like to take the opportunity to share some insights with you that describe from the different perspectives, the benefits of effective preparation which have contributed directly to first-time successes.

Providing you insights into the common challenges individuals face within their promotion aspirations. This can inspire confidence in others facing the same challenges, knowing they can be overcome.

Work Smart

“Stars do not pull each other down to be more visible; they shine brighter.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

Some examples of how you can work smart are:

Focusing on key areas where you will be assessed, Understanding how your promotion evidence aligns to the competency framework and Becoming comfortable talking about the dimensions and functions of the role you are applying for.

Working Hard 

Unsuccessful candidates who have worked hard have not passed the police promotion selection progress, Anyone can work hard and lots of candidates who have worked hard have been unsuccessful.

Lay the Foundations

“It’s not the will to win, it’s the will to prepare to win that is important” – Bobby Knight

Without high levels of self-motivation, you are unlikely to excel in your promotion board and that’s what we are talking about here. That kind of performance is built on solid foundations, for which background reading helps tremendously.

That doesn’t mean ploughing through all your force’s policies; a quest many candidates often set off on. For example, your interview panel (who are scoring you), are unlikely to be aware of such policies in the first place! It does mean a material that triggers, supports and challenges your thinking while being entirely relevant to you being promoted.

Gain ‘An Edge’

“Sure pays to have an edge” – Josey Wales

You can give yourself an edge. It’s in your power. You can start moving forward now by taking action now.

Choosing to take control right now as you read these words can improve your chance of a successful outcome. Of course, you can also choose otherwise, as many (mainly unsuccessful) candidates do.

What Success Looks Like

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden

Starting with the end in mind is a sound approach. Set the bar high for yourself from today. Ask yourself, what does success look like?

The following are the kind of questions I might ask Police Officers during a coaching session.

What kind of promotion board do you want?
What do you want the panel to think about you afterwards?
What needs to happen for that to be the case?

Of course, you can now use them as part of your approach!

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Steve Cooper
Steve Cooper
Steve Cooper writes expert promotion content to support the development of UK police officers.

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