The Peter Principle was articulated in the previous century by Dr. Laurence J. Peters, a legendary management consultant and author.
In it’s original interpretation…
“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”
Which may help explain the general lack of political leadership in our country today.
Tell me if this scenario resonates with you…
A bright and attractive employee rises rapidly through the ranks at XYZ corporation.
If he’s a man, he’s taller and more handsome than the competition. If a woman, her beauty and poise are strikingly obvious.
This person is universally well liked, glib, facile, highly articulate and incredibly well networked. Promotions and titles are harvested in record time. Doors that were closed are magically sprung open.
They are accomplished public speakers…with the polished ability to mesmerize their audience.
Now look at the achievement to success ratio…look closely…and you will discover that for years…perhaps decades…this fast tracking phenomenon has likely been placed in a position far above their actual level of proficiency and competence.
Because at some point in treading this never ending up escalator, everyone began to casually assume that the superstar being groomed for the top slot was a cinch for the job.
It would never occur to anyone that they were not deserving of their rapid ascent.
And how does this saga eventually end?
If they are lucky, they will have well placed subordinates in key positions to shore up their latent deficiencies…and maybe levitate above their level of incompetence for many years to come.
Or they may eventually be found out and bested by an even more dazzling up and comer.
Look at the wreckage in our economy and polity.
At the top of the decaying heap you will find these survivors of social promotion. When they are finally shoved away, their fall will be cushioned by obscenely generous golden parachutes…a virtual cornucopia of wealth and benefits.
They will be rewarded as magnificently in retirement as they were during their ascendancy.
Because they always looked and acted the part…even if they were totally and terminally clueless.
We’ve even elected Presidents who were fully defined by the Peter Principle.