Random Promotions Work Best

Surprisingly, this makes sense

Italian researchers conducted a study that ‘proves’ promoting employees randomly leads to better corporate efficiency than merit-based promotions.

In other words, to simplify, throwing all employee names in the company hat, and blindly selecting one to lead the troops actually leads to a more efficient organization than Boss A selecting one employee based on his/her evaluation of all employees’ performances.

Now, while not cynical myself (I just caused everyone who knows me well to spew coffee out of their nostrils) some are probably thinking, “This is exactly how every major media company already promotes at the top of the food chain, isn’t it?”

Actually, no.

From my perch outside — very far outside — these inner circles, I would say it looks like friends promote friends, and/or people who will toe the company line and help protect their backs.

In other words, it’s not really about who’s best, and it’s certainly not random, it’s purposeful but biased, and while the guys at top think the bias doesn’t show, it’s as bright as a supernova to every employee within the organization.

So, while the executive suites think they have established a meritocracy, they have done the exact opposite.

By consistently promoting those who are not the best at programming, at managing, at leading, at executing, at writing, at creating, at entertaining, they have forced these people elsewhere.

If you think its not true for your company, please call me, or use the Comments section below to set me straight, because as I go through my mental rolodex, I can’t really think of a company — ok, maybe one — where this is not the norm.

So, now this research study makes sense to me.

The very best within an organization will stay if they see proof that their opportunity for advancement is the same as the lowest guy on the totem pole, because that’s a more fair system than we now have.

The don’t have to waste creative energy kissing butt, or playing political games inside the office. And creative types tend to be the worst at this anyway.

Companies using true random promotion would attract lots of people who genuinely love the work, and the atmosphere, and who aren’t afraid to take risk, to fail, because of the fear of losing all chance of advancement, if not employment.

So, who wants to be the first to give this a shot in their company?