42nd Edition — November 24, 2019
Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.Steven Pressfield – Do The Work
1. Revisiting the Peter Principle
The Peter Principle sold more than 1,000,000 copies and remained on a best-seller list for more than 30 weeks. Author Laurence J. Peter stated that an employee in every hierarchy tends to rise to his/her level of incompetence.
Many of us have seen this principle in action when a CEO has elevated the best salesperson to a management role. Often, they fail. Why? Lack of training? Or, were they are not wired for leading and managing? Is it possible their DNA is just selling?
In short, when someone fails, does that mean they are incompetent?
This reminds me of an urban legend regarding a supposed $10 million mistake made by an IBM manager.
2. You Are Not Fired
As the legend goes, Thomas Watson Jr. told a young manager he was not fired after making a big mistake. “We just spent $10 million educating you! You’re not going anywhere,” as the story goes. Did this manager rise to his/her incompetence? Maybe, maybe not.
My spin on the Peter Principle is that people generally fail either because of lack of training or a serious cognitive limitation or something in between. Also, there could be a far better role for the person struggling mightily in a skill, management, or leadership role.
Bonus Bookmark – Father, Son & Co. by Thomas Watson Jr. is a business history favorite of mine. The publisher has finally released a Kindle version.
3. Teaching Constructs
I love to teach, and a technique I continue to refine is called the Thayer Method which is also called the flipped classroom.
The best explanation I’ve seen on the Thayer Method is written by William Cohen in chapter 15 of Peter Drucker on Consulting. There’s a concise article at Psychology Today entitled Great Leaders are Made where the author explains there are no lectures at West Point. Instead, students own their own education according to the author.
I’d also add the following about The Thayer Method –
- it’s about self-mastery
- it’s about self-instruction, and
- it requires immediate application of the content being mastered
4. Speaking of Dr. William Cohen
Remember Drucker’s famous five questions? Go ahead and Google it if needed. I like the way Dr. Cohen has reworded these questions:
- What is the mission of your client or customer?
- What do they value?
- What results are they trying to obtain?
- What results are they achieving?
- What is their (ongoing) plan?
Incidentally, if you can answer these questions clearly and completely, you have the backbone of a solid marketing strategy. Everything else will be tactics.
Bonus Bookmark – my favorite Cohen book by far is A Class With Drucker.
5. Rebound Books
Am I the only person who struggles to pick up a book after finishing a great one? That happened when I finished Tara Westover’s Educated earlier this year. It happened again when I completed the bold and beautifully written Behold, The Dreamers which I would classify as contemporary literary fiction.
I needed a rebound book.
My simple strategy is to read or listen to a short book I’ve completed in the past to keep my thinking muscles from remaining in a neutral position. That book was Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. This average-to-good book is one of my cures for perfectionism where the author’s recurring theme is the attack of resisting forces keeping us from getting projects done.
Bonus Bookmark – this short book just eclipsing 100 pages is the gift for your teen or college student when they can’t seem to get started on that term paper.
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.