Why Military Promotions Work (and why they don’t)

We assign values and characteristics to rank and title in the military (and in civilian life).

Our service culture agrees (without using words) that an E-5 can do specific work to a certain level. Communicate at level 6, lead at level 4, manage at level 5, and so on. An O-7 can communicate at level 10, lead at level 9, etc.

And when promoted, they come to identify with these (mostly) unspoken attributes.
They step up in tremendous ways to communicate, lead, and manage.
This works…but cuts both ways. It gives a new performance bar while also installing a ceiling.

-Do the work to this level, but no more.
-Communicate, but only in your lane.
-Lead bravely, but just do it in this way.

Rank, position, and title can (and do) inspire greater performance.

Just never let it limit your potential.

Never identify with your position so much that it tells you how far you can go.

What’s your ceiling?

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