Police Promotion: A Case for Hope and Optimism

Return journeys to the international space station are almost routine today. But President John F. Kennedy’s speech ‘Lets go to the moon’ in 1962, was a statement of massive human ambition. A phenomenal goal. One that inspired hope and optimism. Here’s a snippet:

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win”.


A Preferred Future

The start of a new year often provides an opportunity to reflect. To take stock of our lives. To think about what you want. To dream of your own goals and aspirations. To look forward into your future. To think about your personal and career aims. About how they might be achieved and what options or steps need to be considered towards a preferred future you envision for yourself.

A Brighter Picture

“May you live in interesting times.”

The above is an ancient Chinese curse. You might well think it applies to some of the challenges facing 21st Century policing and certainly in the context of achieving promotions.

Increased competition, reduced vacancies, changing expectations and different tests in different forces at different times for different ranks doesn’t help. It can be tough to prevail. Many argue that it should be because the aim of a promotion selection process, is to promote the best available people.

Energy, determination and resilience are of course essentials. But hope and optimism it seems, are just as relevant today for officers seeking to convert leadership aspirations into promotion success and Winston Churchill’s comment, “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else” also seems apt.

Promotions are won by those who commit to a depth and breadth of preparation. Who challenge themselves in overcoming obstacles and increasingly who seek support. Those who do win through are able to articulate a ‘brighter picture’ of the future and define their own contribution to helping the organisation move forward.


The Best of You

“The will to succeed is nothing without the will to prepare.”

Preparing yourself for promotion isn’t easy. It’s hard. It’s something often underestimated by candidates. To paraphrase Kennedy – as a goal it serves to organise and measure the best of your energies and skills. They are what you are selling and what the organisation – via a promotion selection process – is buying.

If promotion is a challenge you are willing to accept, one you are unwilling to postpone and one you intend to win, then the start of a new year must also represent and offer hope and optimism.

On that note, I’ll leave the last words to Edith Lovejoy Pierce, which invoke thoughts of a brighter picture for anyone looking forward at this time of year – whatever you hope to achieve.

“We will open the book. It’s pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called ‘Opportunity’ and it’s first chapter is called ‘New Years Day.” Edith Lovejoy Pierce


Kind Regards, Steve


Wherever you are on your promotion journey www.ranksuccess.co.uk  can help with guidance and support.