Thursday, December 04, 2014
Have They All Risen to Their Level of Incompetence
Back in the 1960's a book was published called the "Peter Principle." The premise of the book is that people who are competent at their jobs are promoted, until they are promoted to a job that they are incapable of doing, then they are never promoted again because they are incompetent.
I offer two examples from today.
I was in a meeting this morning arranged by a meetings and travel professional. One of the items on the agenda was the establishment of a task force on assuring that workplace and meeting facilities are accessible to all. The meeting was held in a hotel conference room with six stairs from the entrance down to the conference room floor. The entrance was in the middle of a staircase that was 15 or 20 feet wide. The only hand rails were at the outside of the stairs. There were chairs on a landing at the top of the steps. Once you maneuvered past the chairs to the railing and carefully made your way down the steps, there was a row of chairs on each side at the bottom of the stairs, where the steps along the hand rail met the conference room floor. The meetings and travel professional who agreed to hold that meeting (any meeting) in that room has reached his terminal promotion. The person in charge of arranging the chairs in that room, has also gone as far in the hotel meetings business as the Peter Principle says they will. They are going no farther. Unfortunately it likely also means that they will be doing their bone-headed-best for the remainder of my working life.
Example number 2.
I had a call about a project that ended in 2011. Accounting can't close out the account, because there is 14-cents left in a $168,000 budget. At the hourly cost of my time, we spent about $50 of my time today talking about 14-cents. There was also the accounting person on the other end of the line, who I suspect costs about what I do. So we spent $100 talking about 14-cents. 14-cents that by the way they won't let me have - they want us to falsify report saying that we already have it. To make it more ironic, this is the same 14-cents that we spent $200 of my time discussing several months ago. Several accounting people have reached their plateau - I hope they aren't planning on a promotion to put the kids through college.
Sometimes you just want to slap your forehead and go D'oh!