Thursday, March 30, 2023
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Rise to Excellence, Not Incompetence

by Jonathan Jones

I remember my youthful days in corporate America, when I used to measure someone’s success based on how many people he managed. Like many of my young peers, I set my goal to be the CEO of the company by a certain time. The fact that so many large organizations are now either folded into larger companies or even liquidated is a testament to how wrong that idea was. Today, well-researched odds indicate that such ladder-climbing efforts among junior corporate employees will be largely unsuccessful.

As a corollary to the Peter Principle – which says employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence – I’d offer: “Positions not infrequently, and inevitably, must accommodate the inadequacies of those who fill them.”
Engaged organizations change the goal for both management and the rank and file by redefining what success looks like. A great manager helps her employees focus on those workplace goals that best utilize their specific gifts. A great team helps each player achieve a common goal while maximizing everyone’s talents. When people enjoy what they do and are praised for jobs well done, they are excited to come to work. When the “job” becomes a source of pride and enjoyment, everyone can feel successful.
Look at your work environment. Are your employees having fun while achieving excellent results? If not, consider redefining what qualifies as “success” for your workers as well as your organization. Success may be a simple matter of realigning people to roles in which they can excel and through which your company can thrive.
Employees will tend to rise to their level of excellence when they are focused on their passion in conjunction with organizational and customer objectives. This must be supported by people-focused leaders who concentrate on growing people rather than climbing to their eventual level of incompetence.

Jonathan Jones ( or 314-608-0783) owns Jonathan Jones Consulting.
Submitted 9 years 113 days ago
Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
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