Posted by: nastylittletruths | December 28, 2010

Achieving Incompetence

As a lifelong learner, one of the most fascinating theories in management that I’ve come across is that everyone can eventually be promoted to their level of incompetence. I first read about it in my all time favourite management book – First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman – and it made perfect sense…

It’s simple logic really… If someone is very good at what they do (what we call a ‘highly capable individual’) they are either identified as potential leaders or left to do what they are good at until thy Kingdom come… Now most individuals will want to move up the ladder to earn more, and nothing is wrong in that, but the fundamental problem here has always been the way compensation is structured. Someone lower on the totem pole generally cannot make more than his or her boss…

The other problem is when the vertical move turns out to be a disaster. A highly capable individual does not necessarily become a competent manager. The individual must learn, must change and become better than he or she was to be considered a success. Far too often they fail miserably, and that’s the point the authors were trying to make – that eventually an individual can be promoted to their level of incompetence – a position where they are hopelessly out of depth and they can’t even tread water.

And that’s the point of this post. Were our current leaders elevated to their individual levels of incompetence? Just as people used to say that all Basdeo Panday was good for was being Opposition Leader, so is the Partnership being seen by the people who broke with tradition and pinned their hopes and dreams onto them. No different with Barack Obama in the US. For all and sundry, especially for us in the construction industry, Winston Dookeran is turning out to be the epitome of this theory as he is ill-suited for Finance. He should be out of sight doing Mary King’s job and Vasant should have been the Minister.

For those who have brains to think, we know what Patrick, and a complicit PNM, have done to this country. We don’t need to be reminded in an entire speech. If you need to remind people, spend 10 -15% of your talk saying this is the situation we inherited and the next 85 – 90% of the time explaining how you are going to fix it. Anything else is just wasting my time… You asked for the job, you got it, now do it. New Year, no excuses.


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