Lesson 019: Promoting against personal dislikes
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 3/26 ('The Best of Both Worlds')


When Capt. Picard is captured by the alien Borg race, Riker, 2nd in command of the Enterprise, is promoted to Captain.

As the new captain of the Enterprise, Riker needs to fill his old position by promoting someone from within the Enterprise senior officers. Although Data and Worf are both qualified for the promotion, Riker decides that given their respective knowledge and experiences, they are more valuable in their existing roles due to the impending battle with the Borg.

With reluctance, Riker promotes Lt. Cmdr. Shelby who is on temporary assignment on the Enterprise.

Riker's hesitation with Shelby is caused mostly by Shelby's over aggressive nature, especially with regard to the pursuit of her personal career growth within Starfleet. However, Riker does recognize Shelby's knowledge and experience with Borg tactics does qualify her for the promotion, in spite of her negative characteristics.


Sometimes management has to make choices regarding promotions with which they may not be totally satisfied.

Promoting anyone into a management role (or higher management role) requires the assessments of multiple issues. The review of the quantity and quality of knowledge, experience and past performance of the promotion candidate is, of course, mandatory. But, we need to look beyond just the individual and study the promotion environment and all other areas which may be impacted by the promotion.

If promoting from within, then we need to consider what losses, if any, may be incurred by removing the candidate from their current position. If the candidate is conducting critical research or development or negotiations for the company, will the promotion divert the candidate's attention far enough away from the project so as to diminish the project's chances for success?

Should management dismiss all individuals from candidacy for promotion whom they do not 'like'?

In the case of promotion to higher management roles, would the company be better served if the candidate remained in their current management role, but took on the additional responsibilities of the vacant position?

In the end, the final decision for the promotion must serve the company's needs first. The choice has to always be in favor of the best fit individual for the role, within the boundary conditions of not jeopardizing any existing or potential future functions of the company.

So, even if the Shelby characters under consideration for promotion may have some unfavorable qualities, they may still be the best candidate for promotion - for the good of the company.

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