What makes it important is that people always remember their first promotion most vividly. There’s this powerful feeling of being invested with the trust and confidence of your organization. There’s a sense of excitement because your career has just changed, along with a sense of anxiety, because your responsibilities just changed along with it.
Speaking of responsibilities, one of my biggest and most important is to oversee the future of our Department. The promotional selection process allowed me to do just that.
The testing cycle works like this: for any given rank, a test is held every other year. Last year we tested for the rank of Sergeant. This year we’re testing for the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain. The way the process works is we begin by hiring an independent firm with expertise in what are called “assessment center” exercises. Together with this firm, we sit down and draw up a list of attributes we’d like our future leaders to have.
Integrity, interpersonal skill, technical knowledge, practical problem-solving, tactical soundness and organizational vision are qualities we look for in potential candidates.
Once we get a good idea of how we want our supervisors and commanders to perform, the testing firm begins to design exercises calibrated to “assess” the required leadership talents in a series of challenges. That’s why we call the process an “assessment center”.
After the exercises have been conducted and scored, the testing firm gives us a report of the results and our future promotions are based on those results. The people who scored highest on the exercises are the ones who eventually become Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains and beyond. They are the ones who will be entrusted with the task of upholding our core values in the future.
We take the entire process very seriously. We work closely with the testing firm to make sure the program design focuses on the leadership qualities we want and we work with them to make sure the test is administered in a straightforward and fair manner.
The testing cycle for the rank of Lieutenant and Captain concludes this June. I hope everyone will join me in wishing this year’s group of test-takers the very best of luck.
And to the test takers, this is your opportunity to help shape the future of the Department, to change the things you want to see changed and to make a positive impact on the community you serve.