Amii Barnard-Bahn on Promotability [Podcast]


Post By: Adam Turteltaub

While most of the work in compliance is selfless, there needs to be a bit of self-interest when it comes to career.  Even if a compliance officer doesn’t want to make it to the top, he or she likely would, at some point, want to move up.

How best to do that?  In this podcast we talk with long-time compliance veteran and executive coach Amii Barnard-Bahn about promotability.  She has developed a Promotability Index and is author of the book The PI Guidebook.

Amii reports that from her analysis there are five key elements of promotability:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. External awareness
  3. Strategic thinking
  4. Executive presence, and
  5. Thought leadership

External awareness is worth special attention and centers around how your behaviors impact others and how others perceive you.  The latter is particularly important since that perception becomes their reality when working with you.

Notably absent from the list is technical expertise.  It is a requirement, to be sure, but above a certain level technical acumen starts to be less important than the ability to manage people and affect change through others.

When it comes to seeking a promotion she advises to avoid having discussions with supervisors about the topic during the annual evaluation.  That conversation is more about compensation, and it is better to separate the two.  Also, it is ill-timed for another reason:  typically succession planning conversations by management and HR are held months earlier.  Better to raise the topic about six months before the annual review cycle.

If you do approach your manager about moving up, make sure she or he knows it is safe to give you candid feedback.  In addition, be sure to understand the power structure and culture of your company to know the likelihood of whether you are a candidate to move up the ladder.  Ask questions such as:  “How am I seen?”  “Am I working on the things I should be?”  “Are there perceptions that block me?”

Finally, she counsels individuals that the days of just working harder to get ahead are gone.  Instead, build around your strengths and remove bad habits.  Focus on areas such as the ability to influence and working with and through others.

Listen in to learn more about how you may be able to improve your own promotability index.