The Answer to Every Frustration at Work: The Peter Principle

The Peter Principle nicely sums up the frustration of millions of people in organizations all across the world.  It asserts that “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence” or “in an organization members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability.” So, next time you think your boss or your boss’s boss is completely incompetent… you might just be right.

One of my many favorite lines of the description of the Peter Principle’s overall effect on the workplace: “Thus, work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”

This also seems like a great opportunity to develop a Peter Principle analysis and diagnosis consulting or coaching business. Why isn’t www.peterprinciplediagnosis.com taken already? Ha.

The real goal of this post: now that you’re aware of the Peter Principle you can do something about it.  Make sure you continuously learn new things and build skills that never put you in a state of incompetence. Also, when choosing where to work or who to work with make sure the organization or the people aren’t victims of the Peter Principle too.

Ridiculous Disclaimer: this post of course speaks in no way of anyone I work with or reflects my view on my present company, customers or business partners.  Also, isn’t it ridiculous that I felt the need to write this disclaimer?  It’s like when you see “views are my own” on someone’s personal Twitter account – of course they’re your own – if they weren’t why would you be sending them from your personal account. 

Matt Kane

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