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Passed Your NPPF Exam? OK, Here’s What’s Next…

Passed police NPPF exam

What To Do After Receiving You NPPF Exam Pass

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill

Did you just qualify for promotion? Congratulations! You’ve taken a significant step to progress your policing career. A lot of hard work and commitment went into that result for sure. It’s a significant achievement and a proud day. Well deserved. With the exam in the bag and under your belt, you probably think it’s time for a breather, right?

By all means enjoy a well-earned break but not too long! Elated at passing the exam, you’ll be up in the clouds, full of hope for the future and aiming to convert your leadership aspiration using your exam result before it expires. However, there is more work to be done. Much more.

Your hard-won exam result is simply the end of the beginning.

Last Chance Saloon

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry D. Thoreau

Uncertainty around next steps can make the promotion journey seem like a bridge too far. Just thinking about a selection process can be quite daunting, having just ‘surfaced’ from a period of intense studying for your exam. Especially when you consider that different forces have different promotion processes in place, at different times for different ranks.

It can be really easy to kick the can down the road, postponing any further action. Just sit and wait. It’s an attractive option. However as sure as eggs are eggs, there will come a knock at the door. Not opportunity this time, but procrastination, with a question for you: “Where did the last four years go?”

I say that because I’ve spoken with loads of promotion candidates calling from the ‘last chance saloon’ with one last attempt remaining to get through a board before their exam qualification expires. Some were always full of good intentions aiming to convert their exam qualification into promotion success at some stage, but somehow time got away and other priorities triumphed. Some qualified officers sat numerous promotion boards unsuccessfully having never prepared properly once. Others had very few opportunities to sit a board.

I find it very rewarding when individuals succeed having finally made a decision to seek support. That success is often more emotional too, a real release; born of years of attempts before finally realising their potential.



“I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done.” – Susan Orlean

So, once you’ve had a breather, whether it’s a lovely Christmas break after the Inspector exam or a relaxing summer holiday after studying the Sergeant’s, it’s time to light that motivation touch paper again. Time to recalibrate and refocus, because procrastination is a malaise. It’s contagious and you will note many of your peers starting to succumb quite quickly.

This is what the contagion might sound like:

If this reflects an informed choice for you and your personal circumstances, great! More often than not though, it’s a form of stinking thinking, one that kills valuable momentum you have built towards promotion success.

You are now qualified, but so what? Lots of your peers and colleagues just got qualified too. There’s every chance of losing traction unless you can shift quickly to ‘now what?’ and start to develop your growth mind-set.

Get Your Act Together

“If you believe you have what it takes to be successful, never wait for someone else to take the lead in your self-improvement.” – Steve Keating

The first step is to accept full responsibility for your ongoing development. Next steps in your promotion selection process may include a combination of a written application (paper sift), psychometric tests, presentations, role-play exercises, briefings and a competency or Strengths-Based Interview (SBI). What do you know about any of these?

Raising your awareness and getting ahead of the curve with these in slow time, beats reacting once a process is announced. Would you be match fit if your force suddenly announced a promotion selection process? There is every chance that if you get your act together now, you could be!

“A clear vision backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” – Brian Tracy

Many qualified officers mistakenly believe that they need to have had previous acting or temporary experience to be able to apply for promotion opportunities. This is quite wrong and it’s also a shame because you’ll see lots of cops succeed who haven’t had any acting experience.

Developing yourself from where you are today into a good promotion candidate can take time. This is almost always more time than busy operational cops allow themselves, so bear that in mind. Don’t look to the organisation to develop you, it is expected that you will take ownership for that. You may have opportunities provided for growth and you should seize them.

“Development is always self-development. Nothing could be more absurd than for an enterprise to assume responsibility for the development of an individual. The responsibility rests with the individual, their abilities and effort.” – Peter Drucker

So what’s the good news? Well, you can take a step forward whenever you choose to. The College of Policing’s guidance to forces is that any tests used for promotion selection processes should be competency-based. There are six competencies in the Competency and Values Framework (CVF) used for promotion and wider selection processes, so there’s a starting point right there. What do you know about the CVF promotion competencies?

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal, a commitment to excellence that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

If you are focused on achieving promotion and converting your exam result, it’s time to get your act together and not rest on your laurels. Here are some tips to help, which you can implement from now using my free guide and evidence-building template, ‘Promotion Frameworks Made Easy’:

I’ll leave the last words to Jim Rohn:

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.”

If you found this blog helpful and you’d like more guidance on promotion, you can take action NOW by downloading a FREE guide‘7 Things Promotion Boards Also Look For’, to trigger and support your thinking.

I hope that is helpful for now. Congratulations again and all the best for the new year.

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