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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Principle’

ashokbhatia

CEOs lead a challenging life. Apart from making and meeting long-term business goals, they face a relentless SQpressure, living from one quarter to the next. Customers have to be handled with kid gloves. Suppliers have to be kept in good humour. People have to be kept motivated at all times. Interpersonal conflicts between team members have to be sorted out. A lonely life has to be lived.

Unlike their juniors who invariably face Peer Pressure, CEOs face Pear Pressure. Some call it signs of prosperity. Some refer to it as a Battle of the Bulge. Others label it as flab around the waist.

The Battle of the Bulge

A CEO in possession of a portly disposition projects an image of a soul which has finally attained salvation and has become a super-hero of the species generally alluded to as managers. Walk into any gathering of the top dogs across most…

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ashokbhatia

This breed of CEOs is not as rare as one would believe it to be, provided the canvas is not restricted to the private sector alone. Consider some non-government organizations working in the social sector. Or, look at some government-owned companies or research outfits. In many such cases, one is apt to run into CEOs whose Concern for Production is not inspiring. Nor is their Concern for People. They are primarily driven by their Concern for Ethics. Their work ethics are drawn from a value system which places a high premium on discipline and procedural compliance. A feudal approach comes naturally to them. Their passion for perfection could easily drive others around them crazy.

In terms of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, they rank closest to 1,1,9.X Y Z upgraded

CEOs of this kind thrive in environments where the control over resources provided is not very strict, where excuses and justifications for lapses…

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ashokbhatia

In an earlier post, we had looked at the various leadership styles which emerge from an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid which has three axes: Concern for Production, Concern for People and Concern for Ethics. One of the styles we came across was that of the Charmless Charlies.X Y Z upgraded

These are hapless souls who could not care less for getting results, or, for that matter, for the people who slog their butts out for them. Issues of ethics or improprieties involved in any decision-making do not appear to affect them.

They rank poorly on all the three dimensions – Concern for Production, Concern for People and Concern for Ethics. In terms of an upgraded Blake-Mouton Grid, they would earn a rating of 1,1,1. These are CEOs who, having reached their level of incompetence, exemplify the Peter Principle.

In large organizations, these could be very senior managers who carry a rich legacy of…

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This breed of CEOs is not as rare as one would believe it to be, provided the canvas is not restricted to the private sector alone. Consider some non-government organizations working in the social sector. Or, look at some government-owned companies or research outfits. In many such cases, one is apt to run into CEOs whose Concern for Production is not inspiring. Nor is their Concern for People. They are primarily driven by their Concern for Ethics. Their work ethics are drawn from a value system which places a high premium on discipline and procedural compliance. A feudal approach comes naturally to them. Their passion for perfection could easily drive others around them crazy.

In terms of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, they rank closest to 1,1,9.X Y Z upgraded

CEOs of this kind thrive in environments where the control over resources provided is not very strict, where excuses and justifications for lapses are readily accepted and where norms of accountability are poor. Situations which involve results which are not easily measurable, say, in the realm of social change, attract and retain such talent readily.

Some of these could be brainy coves who are brimming over with ideas. Often, they rank high in terms of their IQ levels, but pretty low in their EQ levels. They lack the ability to compromise. For their team members, it is either their way or the highway. Publically dressing down those who under-perform – in their view – is a habit with them.

What makes them handicapped in realizing their true potential is their inability to organize things and to handle people.

If they decide to become stand-alone entrepreneurs, they take off well. But after the business has grown to a certain level, they are neither able to delegate tasks, nor able to build up teams to support them. The business continues to chug along with high attrition rates, sans any major growth.

The private sector views them with the healthy contempt they deserve. They never quite make it to the much-coveted corner office. Once they hit the proverbial glass ceiling and prove the veracity of the Peter’s Principle, managements find ways to either get rid of them or park them in a relatively harmless spot of the organization.Peters_principle.svg

They could be stand-alone zealots equipped with technical knowledge of a superior kind. They could be great leaders in such areas as Product Engineering, Research and Development, Innovation and the like. They could also make great Executive Assistants – loyal, sincere and devoted. Some could even get to head such functions as Internal Audit and Finance and prove to be a perennial pain-in-the-neck to all and sundry.

Such CEOs are saint-like souls who have to willy-nilly manage to keep their body and souls together. Driven by altruistic motives, their conduct is often an object of ridicule. Often, they happen to be known as GFN – Good for Nothing fellows.

Note: Inputs from Ms Somali K Chakrabarti are gratefully acknowledged. She can be found at Scribble and Scrawl (https://prepforum.wordpress.com)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/ceos-who-happen-to-be-charmless-charlies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/ceos-who-end-up-becoming-road-rollers

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/the-sponge-comforter-ceos

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/ceos-who-are-arsonist-achievers)

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In an earlier post, we had looked at the various leadership styles which emerge from an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid which has three axes: Concern for Production, Concern for People and Concern for Ethics. One of the styles we came across was that of the Charmless Charlies.X Y Z upgraded

These are hapless souls who could not care less for getting results, or, for that matter, for the people who slog their butts out for them. Issues of ethics or improprieties involved in any decision-making do not appear to affect them.

They rank poorly on all the three dimensions – Concern for Production, Concern for People and Concern for Ethics. In terms of an upgraded Blake-Mouton Grid, they would earn a rating of 1,1,1. These are CEOs who, having reached their level of incompetence, exemplify the Peter Principle.

In large organizations, these could be very senior managers who carry a rich legacy of past accomplishments. Their sheen could have just started tapering off. Yet, their brand equity could be strong, owing to some unique strengths they bring to the table. They could have a networking prowess which could be useful to organizations having some skeletons in the cupboard. If shown the door unceremoniously, they could simply end up carrying a High Nuisance Value tag on themselves.

Managements have no other option but to kick them upstairs and park them in a harmless but dignified slot of the organization, duly assisted by a team of crack performers. The team members obviously do not carry a high opinion of their boss, utilizing him either for securing administrative clearances or for petty lobbying with the higher-ups.

OVERSTAYING ONE’S WELCOMEOnce the sunset phase of gratefulness and gracefulness gets over, managements ensure that such CEOs get eased out of the system without further delay. A grand farewell takes place, where everyone sings praises of the outgoing CEO. The latter, smug and pompous, makes all the right noises and fades into history, happily forgotten.

In smaller outfits, the sunset phase is much shorter and crisper. The exit is often harsh and swift, with a blue-eyed current favourite junior getting anointed as a successor. In case the organization has stopped growing, cost considerations provide a fresh lease of life to the junior who continues to bask in the glory of his newly acquired stardom. Over a period of time, strategic goals suffer, as does the level of excellence in the organization. Mediocrity rules the roost.

Well, one can only wish their organizations the best of luck!

What about you? Have you come across some Charmless Charlies in the course of your career?

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit)

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CEOs lead a challenging life. Apart from making and meeting long-term business goals, they face a relentless SQpressure, living from one quarter to the next. Customers have to be handled with kid gloves. Suppliers have to be kept in good humour. People have to be kept motivated at all times. Interpersonal conflicts between team members have to be sorted out. A lonely life has to be lived.

Unlike their juniors who invariably face Peer Pressure, CEOs face Pear Pressure. Some call it signs of prosperity. Some refer to it as a Battle of the Bulge. Others label it as flab around the waist.

The Battle of the Bulge

A CEO in possession of a portly disposition projects an image of a soul which has finally attained salvation and has become a super-hero of the species generally alluded to as managers. Walk into any gathering of the top dogs across most professions and one would be convinced that bosses are generally more portly than their bossed-over managers.

The smarter the top boss, the more he is likely to make his team members run around achieving targets. In the process, the juniors end up getting flatter tummies, a much-coveted attribute. In turn, hard-working subordinates often end up making their bosses lazier, with the latter ending up with convex-shaped protrusions in their midriffs.

Over 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight. Of these, some 600 million are further classified as obese. How does this come about? Lack of exercise is said to be the main culprit. Stress is yet another. Genetic factors take a part of the blame. Long working hours leading to lesser workouts get blamed.Exercise 1

Of decision-making and waistlines

Recently, a study by Australian universities has ended up linking decision-making to higher Body Mass Index.

According to researchers, people whose work days require constant decision-making are at greater risk of expanded waistlines. Conversely, workers who exercise control by regularly applying their skills to their jobs — known as skill discretion — were found to have lower Body Mass Index and a smaller waist size.

In other words, the researchers conclude that it is skinny people who are most often good at what they do and enjoy using their skills. However, those who have the power to make decisions are distinctly wider around the middle.

This justifies the derisive term Fat Cats often used to refer to those who control the levers of business. Admittedly, larger waistlines are perhaps a consequence of the CEOs’ sedentary job requirements instead of being the reason for their elevation to decision-making levels.

Perhaps further studies may reveal that weighty decisions need personal countervailing ballast in order to be balanced. It sounds as if power ends up making business leaders more expansive.

Beyond the Peter Principle

Concerned CEOs may wish further research to be designed in such a way as to establish the veracity of some Peters_principle.svgprinciples of the following kind:

1. A manager’s waistline is directly proportional to his position in any decision-making hierarchy.

2.  According to the Peter Principle, in any organization, employees rise to their level of incompetence. Further studies could confirm if their rise is also linked to the propensity of their bodies to achieve the maximum girth permitted by their constitution.

3.  Depending upon their Body Mass Index and the waistline, successful CEOs could be classified into three categories.
Potato CEOs: Those who have dazzled with their performance in the good old days. They have outgrown   the stage of feeling Pear Pressure.
Pear CEOs: Those who are currently guiding teams and delivering reasonably good results. The hapless souls are yet to come to terms with their pear-shaped midriffs.
Banana CEOs: Those who are good at planning as well as execution. They aspire to attain the status of Peer CEOs, without their bariatric blues.

4. For Potato CEOs, Pear CEOs are objects of envy. Likewise, Pear CEOs, howsoever reassured they might sound, secretly aspire to be like Banana CEOs, with concave-shaped bellies.

5. A hypothesis that can be put to test would be if the rate of rise in a hierarchy determines the rate of increase in waistlines.

6. All these propositions need to be cross-validated across different cultures and societies.

Such studies would enrich the science of Hierarchiology. These would be highly useful for head hunters as well as for Human Resource professionals. The insights gained thus would enable managers of all sizes and shapes to improve their quality of life.

Pear Pressure in organizations

Ironically, what is true of individual CEOs is also true of organizations.

The very successful and dynamic ones indulge in frequent bariatric surgeries and ensure that their midriffs remainZOO ORGANIZATIONS under strict control. They are acutely aware of Pear Pressure and have checks and balances in place to avoid carrying excessive flab.

The mediocre ones end up accumulating flab in the middle. At every success, they end up hiring more people than is necessary. At every failure, they undergo a liposuction procedure. They have learnt the art of managing Pear Pressure.

The not-so-successful organizations have the highest Body Mass Index. They are replete with massive layers in their hierarchies. Their processes are bogged down with archaic procedures. Most public sector undertakings are shining examples of this kind.

This is THE challenge all CEOs need to fight single-handedly. They have to wage a relentless war on adipose tissue of all kinds. Unless they decide to take the matter in their own hands, literally as well as metaphorically, the excess belly fat – whether on their own personas or in their organizations – would refuse to melt away.

(Reference: http://www.theweek.in/news/sci-tech/how-your-job-could-be-influencing-your-waistline-study.html)

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QUALITYQUALITY

Hire a quality expert who is practical and does not live in an ivory tower, or else your billings may nosedive and your entire manufacturing team may end up doing only rework.

In the services sector, quality invariably means an extension of the core job being done. A shipping agent who keeps you updated of the status of a shipment at all times is a delight to work with; so is a dentist who sends you a discreet s-m-s reminding you of your appointment that evening.

To quote Dr. Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull: “……man cannot achieve his greatest fulfilment through seeking quantity for quantity’s sake; he will achieve it through improving the quality of life, in other words, through avoiding life-incompetence.”

 

QUANTITATIVE APPROACH

Quite a few times, a team leader has to let go of his quantitative obsession and take a decision off the seat of his pants. A crucial input to decision-making is intuition and gut feel. In turn, intuition and gut feel get sharpened over a period of time by the sheer availability of good quality quantitative data.

 

QUESTIONNAIRE

A well designed questionnaire is an important tool in any research project. It pays to pre-test one before freezing it. However, in case of behavioural and attitudinal studies, a structured interview approach works much better.

 

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