Dear GMP Sergeant,
If your goals include going for promotion to the rank of Inspector this year, I’m writing to you early doors, to shout from the rooftops a quick reminder that ‘opportunity knocks’. Greater Manchester Police will be seeking continuous improvement against its policing plans, promoting only the very best candidates who share the localised CVF values in 2023.
Of course, some of your colleagues already know this, and are working to get ahead of the curve…
“Tests ain’t fair. Those that study have an unfair advantage. It’s always been that way.” – Allan Dare Pearce
An inspired minority of officers will have made a good head start. In many cases, this results in putting clear blue sea between themselves and competitors. In essence, they are busy painting the picture of your force’s future board results! “Hold your horses Steve” I hear you say, “that’s an unfair advantage!”
“But the force hasn’t even published the selection process yet, I’ll start preparing when they do.” That’s déjà vu for me; I’ve heard that and so many other excuses to justify doing nothing. If that’s your strategy for success, it’s a castle built on sand. Don’t buy into it for a minute! For one thing, you probably won’t be aware enough to notice or recognise the promotion booby traps.
I want to encourage you and to let you know there’s a tremendous depth and breadth of preparation you can choose to do right now, to get match fit for when opportunity arrives. For starters? Learn to love the CVF, or at least familiarise yourself with it. From there you can check out your force’s PEEL assessment and the GMP plan on a page. More on that soon.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso
Rank Success has helped more cops convert leadership aspirations into promotion success than you can shake a stick at. With this in mind, if you intend to put yourself forward for a promotion selection process in future, my aim is to support, challenge and provoke your thinking. For example, here’s five reasons Sergeants fail Inspector boards.
Seneca said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Luck has little to do with promotion success and yet many believe it does. How I wish I had been lucky enough to have received a letter such as this, ahead of my Inspector promotion board.
What’s the Plan in GMP?
“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein
Don’t await guidance or only ‘tune in’ when the force selection process is announced. Effective, meaningful preparation to succeed in a promotion selection process for the more strategic rank of Inspector will see you reading well in advance. Here’s a great start: Planning our Future: Building a new GMP (I’ve also embedded the document below incase GMP change their links!).
This policing plan arose following GMP being placed into special measures in 2020 following an inspection by HMICFRS. The plan distils the essence of what GMP collectively undertakes to deliver into simple points of focus, like improving performance management and managing resources. Aspiring Sergeants in Greater Manchester would do well to comprehend the section on ‘Taking A Strategic Approach’; the bridge to Inspector.
Whilst special measures have recently been lifted, following improvements over the last two years, the plan remains a fantastic source of inspiration for how you can paint a brighter future for the force as an Inspector.
Progress reports against the plan are also helpful. Internalising this might not be something you would normally do, but it’s a good way to both brief and challenge yourself supportively ahead of a selection process. You can identify, anticipate, and predict potential interview and/or presentation questions as you work through the plan. Here’s one that naturally comes to mind:
“As a newly promoted Inspector, how will you help deliver our force Plan on a Page?“
Your response to the question will be informed from reading the plan and can be honed, reflected upon, and practiced in advance. Even if you don’t get asked it, this kind of effort will serve you well and build your confidence. Recognise too the overlaps with the CVF competencies. For example, the GMP plan priority of ‘Become a more intelligent organisation’ mentions things like decision-making and gathering/analysing information. This of course shares much congruence with the CVF competency ‘We Analyse Critically’.
Here are a couple of videos I previously published for GMP Sergeant candidates covering GMP’s Plan on a Page and for presentations as part of your promotion process. Whilst originally aimed at Constables aspiring to the rank of Sergeant, the relevance remains clear. You’ll find them helpful to listen to and make notes.
If your Inspector selection process turns out to be different, you’ll still pick up insights you can allude to in your approach to another potential board question:
“How would you describe the Inspector’s role?“
Further, it is useful at the more strategic rank of Inspector to be aware of your force’s latest PEEL assessment. Here’s the PEEL assessment for GMP, including some useful basic facts about the force:
Understanding your values and how they ‘mesh’ with stated force values is important introspective work you can also start now. This will help when compiling any evidence or examples against behaviours to be assessed.
The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) espouses four policing values: Public Service, Transparency, Integrity and Impartiality, which I cover in depth in my ‘Demystifying the CVF’ explainer video. As with other forces including the Met and Police Scotland, GMP has additional bespoke values, which underpin service delivery. To supercharge your preparation, feel free to join me in Birmingham on 18 February or 18 March, for an exclusive and in-person promotion masterclass. We can talk through your bespoke values, local promotion process, or any other concerns you have on the day. You’ll also receive a free copy of my 3hr CVF explainer video.
For now, here’s another potential presentation scenario to consider as effective preparation for promotion in Greater Manchester Police (and elsewhere!):
“As a leader, what do our force values mean to you? How have you demonstrated them?”
Act or Accept
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
Being an effective operational cop is one thing. A well prepared, confident, promotion candidate is another. Ideally, it’s two sides of the same coin… and yet promotion panels see many more of the former than the latter.
If you want to maximise your potential to exploit the opportunity your force offers you, take action. Raise your awareness. Build your confidence. Or accept the consequences.
“While we are making up our minds as to when we shall begin, the opportunity is lost.” – Quintillian
Here’s three options to support you in taking action – now:
- Act or Accept. Make the decision.
- Download a comprehensive Inspector/Ch Inspector digital toolkit: All you need to hit the ground running today and start building momentum! Includes, ‘demystifying the CVF’ explainer video, my 4 hr Promotion Masterclass video, three bespoke guides covering applications and structuring examples, lots of detailed examples of good evidence, aligned to frameworks at Inspector/Ch Inspector level, a passing your promotion interview guide, and an exclusive insights document. You’ll save 20% with code “RSGUIDES20”.
- Attend a Promotion Masterclass: You are welcome to attend my “promotion super briefing”. It’s a comprehensive day, with materials, lunch, and refreshments included. I’ll also send you a copy of my 3hr CVF explainer video as part of your prep materials. Just turn up in thinking mode. There’s also still time to get my discounted early bird rates!
What might hold you back is something very common: fear of failure. But if you don’t take action, you’ll fail by default, so what have you got to lose?
Just found out I’ve been successful in my Sgt > Inspector board, and there’s no way that would have happened without your guidance! A massive thank you!!!” – Brian – Passed Inspector’s Promotion Board
Prioritise Your Future
“Action expresses priorities.” – Gandhi
Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity, for example, moving into the rank of Inspector will see your salary increase to between £54.6k and £59.1k.
You might kick yourself for missing opportunity like that. Of course, there are many different reasons you may wish to progress your career via promotions. But the increased money and pension is a no-brainer in these times of financial pressures on personal and family budgets.
“Our priorities are most visible in how we use our time. Three things never come back, the spent arrow, the spoken word and lost opportunity. We cannot recycle time allotted to us each day. With time, we have only one opportunity for choice, then it is gone forever.” – Dallin H. Oaks
“Competition exists to choose who gets the prize when the prize can’t be shared.” – Andrew Harvey
Good, better, or best? Competition is an aspect of promotion selection processes that is frequently overlooked. Good performance on a promotion board doesn’t always get you promoted. Being better than the good candidates doesn’t always either. It’s the panel who get to choose only the best individuals on the day. In larger forces like GMP especially, the promotion pool of those qualified to Inspector far exceeds vacancies available – ergo competition.
Striving to be the best is a mindset I aim to instil on my promotion masterclass, along with a raft of tools to help you achieve that goal. Naturally, this will boost your confidence when it comes to your police promotion board. Take Lou’s experience for example:
“Hi Steve, thanks to your guides and podcasts, I have passed the Inspector board first time around! … I felt well prepared, well-versed and well-read. I needed the extra push, which you provided, because when CVF-based boards came in – I was lost! I couldn’t quite tell you how or what I did that got me over the line in either event, but I can say “ENAMEL” and your reading list “musts” were a huge help. I felt like I could attack each question and I was ready to say, “Who has questions for my answers”. All the best.” – Lou, Passed Inspector Promotion Board first time
In reality, the only person you are in competition with is yourself. There’s a lot you can do to ensure that you are the very best you can be to make the most of the competitive aspect. There’s nothing you can do about how your competition approaches the same opportunity. Or is there?…
In conclusion and on a more serious note, it is the public and your organisation who ultimately benefit from strong, healthy competition for formal leadership positions.
You may have some natural uncertainty at the moment, but inaction is the result and cause of fear. Action breeds both confidence and courage, so like Lou, you’ll be ready to attack each question.
I hope you have found this helpful food for thought, and I wish you the very best when your promotion opportunity arrives.
Kind Regards, Steve
Want to go further right now? Hit the ground running with your promotion preparation. Get your personal digital promotion toolkit, and/or my Police Promotion Masterclass. You can also contact me to arrange personal coaching support. If you first want to explore completely free content, I have a collection of videos, eGuides, and podcast.