Beware Of The Peter Principle

Eventually your organization will reach a common barrier to growth whereby the employees who got your organization to its current level will not be able to grow the organization to the next level.

According to Wikipedia, the Peter Principle is a belief that, in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization’s members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.” Essentially employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently. It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle.

The best way to manage this inevitable dilemma is to establish job accountabilities and measure quarterly whether or not the job’s success factors are being achieved.  Eventually both you and your direct report will realize the Peter Principle has been reached and a change is needed.  Furthermore, setting accountabilities and success factors for future positions, helps the individual prepare for success in that position as they work their development plans so the promotion doesn’t rely on “hope” as the strategy for success.

Empower your direct reports with job accountability success factors, review them regularly, and you’ll successfully mange the Peter Principle.

Explore posts in the same categories: Leadership, Performance Acceleration

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