Once is Not Enough

Once is Not Enough

Bob Stewart


I’ve always performed well in interviews and assessment centers.

An assessment center is a process of using simulation exercises to evaluate candidates for promotion to supervisory and management positions. Traditional exercises include role-plays, presentations and/or briefings, tactical simulations, in-basket/inbox simulations, and written problem-solving exercises.  An assessment center exercise puts the promotional candidate in a situation where he/she performs tasks that are similar to those that they might find at the new position.

I’ve always performed well in interviews and assessment centers. I’m sure that the most helpful step involved was being an assessor for another department before having to compete in our own assessment center. The light clicked on and it all made sense.

I have a shelf full of assessment center and promotional process texts. I often recommend several of these to potential candidates but have found something of value in every one of them.

Similarly, I’ve attended several promotion processes classes and recommend it to others. I’ve picked up something of benefit in each and every class that I’ve attended. In my other writings I’ve indicated how I thought that attending promotion related classes was money well spent. I’d emphasize that here too.

I’ve had co-workers ask why I was spending money to go to another assessment class since I seemed to understand them and performed well. My standard response is that I’ve gotten something from each class. While some of the material was repetitive, there was always one approach, one experience or one tip that I was able to take away.

I’ve tried to incorporate most, if not all, of these “nuggets” into our Bobcat training but still recommend that, when the opportunity arises, to take other training in addition to ours.

If your agency sends people out to sit on other department’s assessment centers or interviews, try to get on the list. The view from the other side of the desk is instructive and is great skill development.

Read a book or two; take a class or two; and sit on a panel or two. It’s worth the time and money and will almost always improve your own performance.

Remember -- at Bobcat, We Promote Success.

We’ll see you down the road …

Be Willing to Invest in Yourself

This article is aimed primarily at upwardly mobile law enforcement officers, but there is certainly an application for anyone seeking advancement in their own organization or a higher position in another agency.

I'm Bob Stewart, the President and CEO of Bobcat Training and Consulting. At Bobcat, we help people who are trying to help themselves grow and advance successfully. Our primary function is to help our participants be more effective in interviews and promotional processes. Bobcat Promotes Success.

We believe that if you want to sit in one of the "big chairs," your agency will not give you all of the tools necessary to get there nor will they give you all of the skills necessary to be successful at that next level. Even in those organizations with excellent career development plans do all of its members get everything that they need to succeed. The organization just can't afford to do it. With all of the training and education mandates that they have there just isn't enough money to send every employee to all of the training, conferences, seminars and meetings where they can develop the needed skills and tools to get ahead. This does not even take into consideration the many important networking opportunities which can lead to positions and higher salaries in and outside of your current organization.

We recognize this and since all of us at Bobcat and most of our peers throughout the industry have had to shell out some of our own money to get to where we are or have been, we urge and suggest that you be open to the idea too.

This is the first of a number of short articles that build upon this notion. Other articles will come from my own experiences and those of others who talk about their own careers and the things that were meaningful in their advancement. If you have one, please send it. We like success stories.

The bottom line here is that we offer training that you’re probably going to have to pay for yourself. Most public employees are tight with a dollar. We grew up in this industry and understand a lot about it.

Even if it isn’t us, we urge you to stretch out and get the kinds of knowledge, skills and abilities that will make you a stronger supervisor, manager or executive. Join the management associations of your public sector and attend their conferences when you can. The contacts will pay off down the line. Spend a little; get a lot.

We often hear from people who want to be “tutored” prior to a promotional process. We tell them that the training is so much more meaningful in a class where you see how others would approach an exercise or when you get to compare your solutions to problems compared to others. The answer given most often is, “But I don’t want my competition to know that I’m taking a class,” or “....I don’t want them knowing what I know...”

We’re left scratching our heads because we all continued to attend classes, even after we performed well in interviews and assessment centers. We think that it paid off somewhere down the road and was well worth the time and effort.

We’ll see you down the road …

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