Meanderings of a Minister

Who Gets Promoted and Who Doesn’t and Why (probably not because they read this book)
July 23, 2014, 9:18 am
Filed under: Book Review | Tags: , , , , , ,


Donald Asher is well-known by many in the business community as the author of a book, now in its second edition, that outlines for them how to get promoted.  He includes both how to get promoted and what to avoid to keep it from happening.  His subtitle is “12 Things You’d Better Do If You Want to Get Ahead”.  Since this is a business book, it make sense that he draws all of his illustrations from the business world.  While Asher has some great things to say, many of these are self-evident and his mentioning of them is not all that helpful or insightful.  For instance, he talks about anticipating change and offering yourself as the solution to the problems or opportunities that change presents.  The problem with his encouragement to ride the wave of change comes from the assumption that a person can see all changes and that a person can remain nimble and trained up enough on potential futures to be the answer to anything that might come up.  While this would be the best scenario, it is not always possible, nor practical.  I realize the reader might be thinking that I am merely claiming sour grapes and not wanting to change and that this reluctance is driving my criticism.  My point is simply that it is not always possible to know what is coming, nor economical to train for every potential future.

Asher presents a  pyramid for getting promoted in the second chapter of his book.  I found this both helpful and a little presumptive.  He says that doing your job well is the foundation for future success (again, very obvious), but goes on to say this is not enough.  You have to:

1. Do your job well.
2. Make yourself known to the right people.
3. Develop the skillset needed for advancement (see note above).
4. Be available when opportunity knocks.  Package yourself for promotion.
5. Win the promotion.

While all of these steps are helpful, they are also nothing new.  What is new is that a person would approach their current situation with an eye always on promotion.  And herein lies the true power of Asher’s book.  Asher suggests that doing one’s job is no longer that best indicator of who is eligible for promotion.  For instance, he suggests that anyone who becomes so good at their job so as to become irreplaceable has actually worked against his or herself for promotion.  The military has seen their way around this conundrum for a long time, but they have the endless pockets which come from your tax money.  For businesses with limited resources, and profitability at stake, this is too often the case.  Many employers and senior managers would rather not take a chance on moving someone with a known skill set to a position they may not be able to fill.  They do not want to lose the productivity or mid-level leadership.  So, while a bit confusing, a person is to do their job well, but not too well.

Asher’s main contribution in Who Gets Promoted and Who Doesn’t and Why is that he challenges the average person to be become more than average and to seek to reach their full potential.  He suggests this through being a constant student of the company, people, the art of selling yourself and your company, and the art of reading and managing people.  This is worth the cost of the book for the person that has not considered such things before.  For those that read this type of material, and for those who have worked in the business world for any amount of time at all, this is obvious and need not be shared.

If I sound like I am confusing and ambivalent towards Who Gets Promoted and Who Doesn’t and Why, it is because I am.  The book is the same, so it is fitting.  If you have not read any material on promoting yourself, get the book.  If you have, don’t bother.  If you work in a company that leaves the door open for promotion, and you are not sure how to step through, get the book.  If you don’t work in that environment, save $15.  If you need a motivational push to get going, read the book.  If are already motivated, don’t get bogged down in reading the book.  You are probably already doing what Asher recommends.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Crown Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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