Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘level of incompetence

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence.” Peter Principle

You keep being promoted beyond your level of confidence

Published nearly a half-century ago, the book is now a refreshing tonic for all the feel-good, impossibly Pollyannaish management wisdom being passed around.

The Peter Principle is named after Laurence J. Peter, a prominent Canadian scholar of education, who noticed it, began to lecture about it, and was finally egged on to write in more detail about it.

Rather than penning a scholarly tract, he offered up a straight-faced satirical treatment. It’s as if the book were being narrated by Leslie Nielsen circa “Airplane.”

Let’s allow Peter, from the introduction to his book, to have the final word:

If man is going to rescue himself from a future intolerable existence, he must first see where his unmindful escalation is leading him. He must examine his objectives and see that true progress is achieved through moving forward to a better way of life, rather than upward to total life incompetence.

Man must realize that improvement of the quality of experience is more important than the acquisition of useless artifacts and material possessions.

He must reassess the meaning of life and decide whether he will use his intellect and technology for the preservation of the human race and the development of the humanistic characteristics of man, or whether he will continue to utilize his creative potential in escalating a super-colossal death-trap.

On occasion, Man has caught a glimpse of his reflection in a mirror, and not immediately recognizing himself, has begun to laugh before realizing what he was doing. It is in such moments that true progress toward understanding has occurred.

Seth Godin posted on November 11, 2014

A Peter Corollary

The original Peter Principle made perfect sense for the industrial age: “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence.”

In other words, organizations keep promoting people up the organization until the people they promote reach a job where they are now incompetent.

Competence compounded until it turns into widespread incompentence.

Industrial organizations are built on competence, and the Peter Principle describes their undoing.

Consider a corollary, one for our times:

To be promoted beyond your level of confidence.”

Too often, the person who wrecks our work is us.

In every modern organization with upward mobility, good people are promoted until they get to the point where they lose their nerve.

You can check out the original Peter Principle here.

Note: It makes perfect sense. How can any one promoted to chief through a hierarchy is able to stay abreast of new knowledge and technology while squeezed under heavy stress?

That is why sabbaticals were innovated in order to allow people in the profession to take a healthy break from the humdrum of daily activities and get updated on the quality of experiences he had witnessed.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
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