Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, May 04, 2007

Been busy trying to get promoted

Sorry for the lack of Blogging for the last few weeks/days but I've been busy trying to get promoted.

After a couple of years of being "quite happy where I was" and being convinced that "I didn't need to be promoted", and then more recently promotion being talked about as something "I'll go for in a couple of years", all of a sudden this year it's all happened.

The next level up for me is Associate Partner in IBM and that means going through a promotion panel: preparing a business case as to my past achievements and my case for promotion ; then writing and delivering a short 10-15 presentation on my case; then answering questions about my case for 45 minutes. In all my career to date I've never had to do any form of promotion panel and so this in itself was quite a daunting prospect.

The original promotion timetable was to do a dress rehearsal of the panel process in April, learn what areas I needed to improve on, then I'd have 6 months to rectify any weaknesses before the real promotion panel in September/October, for the promotion to be effective from January 2008.

Then in March I was told that everything had changed, the timetable had been shortened, and now I was to have the dress rehearsal in March/April and do the real panel in April/May.

Eak !

In some respects this couldn't have come at a worse time, I was in the middle of trying to win a large consultancy and systems integration project for IBM which was soaking up all my time (day and night) so I'd little time to focus on the preparing for the panel. Nevertheless I did manage to carve out sufficient time to write my case and get as ready as I could do for the dress rehearsal panel last month.

At one stage it looked like I was going to be doing our final customer bid presentation and the promotion panel dress rehearsal on the same day, then the dates changed and they were scheduled for one day after another.

In the end I never managed to do the dress rehearsal as I had to go back to the client that day and help clarify some parts of our proposal.

Since then I've been getting increasingly stressed out about things.

We were successful in our customer proposal and the project was awarded to us, which on one hand was excellent news as having just won a major project is an excellent demonstration of my abilities, but on the other hand it meant that I had to focus on trying to mobilise the project

It's been really difficult finding enough time to prepare properly for my promotion case and think through the key messages I wanted to impart and the words I wanted to say. Trying to get the right balance between being succinct, insightful and with depth of experience has been tough.

Anyway it's all over now. My business case and presentation were all finished last week, I finished the words on Thursday last and spent quite a bit of the weekend practising my 'pitch'.
I've spent time talking to others about how to come across and I spent Wednesday last running through my slides and words with two of my peers who were also going for promotion.

I was a bag of nerves before I went in but all the prep appears to have paid off and I apparently came over in a confident and relaxed manner. I gave my presentation, answered the tough questions to the best of my abilities, and overall think it went quite well - I certainly gave it my best shot.

Now all I can do is wait. I won't hear either way until sometime in June and as there's 7 people going for roughly 3 places it's by no means a done deal.

Looking back on it, it's funny how your perspective on things change. I can clearly remember thinking that my case was a long shot at best, but when you sit down and analyse your achievements and skills and then compare them to the benchmark, I've come to realise that I am operating at the right level and I am in with a real chance. Like someone said to me beforehand, it's about "bottling up" all the best bits of confidence and impact I have and making sure that I look upon the panel presentation as being a business discussion between peers, and not a subservient relationship where I am trying to demonstrate something above my abilities.

Fingers crossed on this one ...


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