Today’s organizations may be the victims of the Peter Principle
“Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence”
It seems that in today’s companies the lines between politics and efficiency are blurred to the point where their own survival as a business entity is threatened by the so called Peter Principle. According to Lauren Weber a recent study found that “in 42% of the organizations the low performer employees are actually more engaged, motivated, and have better employee satisfaction scores, than the high performance employees”. While this may seem like a joke for many, we need to remember that in today’s political organizations, engagement equals networking, opportunities for promotions, and increased influence in the company’s decisions and results.
This trend could indicate a substantial challenge for the companies included in that 42% because of the increased threats and challenges brought in by the globalization movement. In today’s multinational environment where customers can source their products and services from companies across the globe as easy as from those across the street, companies need to focus on their employee’s relative productivity levels and compare them to those of their industry peers and competitors. If we consider that as several studies have found, employee satisfaction it is one of the fundamental components of employee productivity, and by extension company productivity; there could be a substantial productivity hit if your “most satisfied employees” are also your “less productive employees”. If that is the case in any organization, only two things could happen, the first that your high performance employees leave seeking other places where they could be more satisfied; or that your high performance employees learn from there less productive (but happier) peers and learn to be happy and less efficient.
Perhaps in today’s U.S. business, as it has already happened in today’s U.S. politics, the art of engage, compromise, and belong, it is more important than the basic business principles. It seems that rewards and promotions are more available for those that excel in the practice of politics instead of actual job performance. Even one of the icon’s of today’s industry Jack Welsh recognizes that “Execution” or The Ability to Get the Job Done, it’s actually one of the skills that were forgotten for many years in the U.S. corporations. The problem is that even when they are not executing, today’s business structures reward more the ability to engage and play politics, than the actual job performance of employees, and many current and future leaders are either victims or examples of the Peter Principle when they are promoted to the level of their natural incompetence. If at the end they get the promotions and $$, why will anyone change the skills and abilities that help them accomplish their goals. And who is right, the ones that believe in promotions based on performance and those who believe in promotions based on politics? I let you decide.
Inloso offers strategic business consulting in Latin America, specializing in outsourced field operations, IT, and telecom. We have over 20 years of experience and can help you expand your business, improve your profits and customer satisfaction, and/or reduce your costs of operations. Please visit our contact page if you are interested in our assistance in any of these areas.
Copyright © Inloso, 2013. Your use of the site and the information provided is contingent upon the agreement with Inloso Terms and Conditions
- When the Worst Performers are the Happiest Employees – At Work – WSJ.
- The Peter Principle
- How the Peter Principle Works – howstuffworks.com
- The 4 Es : Traits That Get You Hired and Promoted – ask men.com