The Peter Principle Revisited

Seth Godin in Tribes:

Dr. Laurence Peter is famous for proposing that “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” In other words, when you do a great job, you get promoted. And that process repeats itself until finally you end up in a job you can’t handle.

I’d like to paraphrase the Peter Principle. I think what actually happens is that “in every organization everyone rises to the level at which they become paralyzed with fear.”

The essence of leadership is being aware of your fear (and seeing it in the people you wish to lead). No, it won’t go away, but awareness is the key to making progress.

Apropos, this quote from Lady Gaga at Google:

When I go to the Monster Ball I see something so fearless and so special in my fans. But I also see something afraid. Something that I was. Something that I was unsure.

And I really encourage people to look into the darkness and look into places that you would not normally look to find uniqueness and specialness because that’s where the diamonds are hiding.


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