Peter

By Rob Asghar via forbes.com   Article

Incompetence Rains, Er, Reigns: What The Peter Principle Means Today

“You may think you’ve heard the Peter Principle before—something to the effect that, ‘In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.’

But the Peter Principle was more than an alarmingly nasty motto. It was an alarmingly nasty book—and a funny one at that, illustrating the efforts of many managers to seem productive when in fact they’re in over their heads.

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. …

Here are the core principles of Peter’s bungling world of management:

1. When you’re great at something, you might get rewarded with a promotion … into something you’re terrible at. …

2. Once you’re promoted to your level of incompetence, you probably won’t get fired and replaced with someone more competent. Instead, others will work around you. …

3. When you’re competent, even a dummy can see your output. … once you’re reached incompetence, there’s little or no output from you. At this point, you’ll be judged by your input—by how early you arrive at the office, by how cheerful you are, by how you’re a good citizen. …

….

7. Because incompetence is inevitable, we shouldn’t be trying to fire all the incompetent managers. We’d only replace them with deadwood anyway. And being a social species, we realize these people have families to feed, cars to buy and vacations to take. They’re job-creators, if you will. Peter argued that incompetent people will do the least damage to competent people’s productivity if we maintain the benign illusion that they’re useful and have a bright future.”

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