If you aspire to Sergeant or Inspector rank, how will you prepare effectively for your promotion opportunity? What works? Asking yourself questions is one compelling and effective method to raise your awareness. Here are a few to start:

  • What is it I want to achieve?
  • When do I want to achieve it?
  • Where am I today and what action do I need to take to realise my goal?

Plus ça Change

“Plus ça Change” – French Proverb, translated as “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) is described as a “fresh and exciting promotion framework for a modern police service”. You might hear alternative descriptions from promotion candidates trying to get to grips with it!

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has now followed suit with other forces by implementing the CVF; its third promotion assessment framework in almost as many years! MPS candidates might justifiably be wondering if they are the nation’s guinea pigs when it comes to testing national police promotion frameworks.

Having successfully supported sergeant and inspector candidates navigate the Metropolitan Performance Framework (MPF) and then its successor the Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF), things are now underway with the latest iteration the CVF!

Aware of this “plus ça change”, I provide a memorable model of the desired behaviours within the federated ranks, sharing this with those who wish to work smart through my masterclasses and digital promotion guides.

Implementing the CVF aligns the Met with provincial forces, who almost exclusively now use the CVF for promotion and other selection processes.

Generally speaking, there’s no shortage of critics, frustration and uncertainty when it comes to promotion processes and there’s little change with the arrival of the CVF. It’s a natural response to change, so a question I often ask individuals at this point is:

“What can you tell me about the CVF?”

After an awkward short silence, their focus then adjusts accordingly…

A Socratic Approach

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” – Socrates


The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates believed the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others. His ‘method’ of teaching included asking a series of coaching style questions. This helped a person determine their underlying beliefs and ‘test’ how knowledgeable they really were.

“Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.” – Socrates

Socrates believed that wisdom comes from introspection. He believed he was wise because he knew that he had no knowledge, whereas others thought they were wise but did not know their ignorance. This relates to the highly valued leadership skill ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (EQ), which under the CVF in turn equates to the competency ‘We are emotionally aware’.

Socrates encouraged the youth of the day to question established wisdoms of the time. This led to him being sentenced to death by poison.

Questions can clearly be very challenging indeed! Some people are wary of this; others relish the insights they provide. In the context of promotion, here are some to get you thinking:

  • Who doesn’t get promoted?
  • What do I believe about that?
  • What works?

A Philosophy for Success

“Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers, they want you to believe theirs.” – Socrates

Asking questions to help you understand for yourself what you already know is not teaching: It’s helping you to learn.

Effective preparation ahead of your promotion opportunity is not about learning by rote, or swallowing knowledge for later regurgitation. It’s about examining your own ideas and beliefs, making use of questions and drawing your own conclusions.

“Children ask questions. They are endlessly inquisitive and so they learn and grow at an extraordinary rate” – Jonathon Lazear

Introspective questions are powerful because they compel you to look inward for answers. They are not easy, but can be useful tool to better ‘know thyself’.

The CVF is just another framework with a little more emphasis on values including integrity, transparency, impartiality, and of course public service. Here are some to ask yourself:

  • What is the leadership I need to provide?
  • How do my own values inform my actions?
  • What is important to me?

After preparing with this depth of reflection and thinking, the prospect of a promotion board can feel much less daunting.

For the Wise…

Asking questions is a sound philosophy for promotion preparation, but only taking action gets you promoted. If you found this blog helpful, why not take action today! You can download a digital toolkit (most are FREE!) and hit the ground running right away, or book yourself onto my upcoming Promotion Masterclasses, leading the way on what REALLY works.

Kind Regards, Steve

Wherever you are on your promotion journey, Rank Success can help you with comprehensive guidance and support.