by Jonathan Jones
I recall my days in corporate America, when I used to measure someone’s success by the number of people they managed. Like many of my young peers, I set a goal of becoming the company’s CEO by a certain date. The fact that so many large organizations have now been folded into larger corporations or even liquidated demonstrates how wrong that notion was. Well-researched odds indicate that such ladder-climbing efforts among junior corporate employees will be largely unsuccessful today.
As a corollary to the Peter Principle, which states that “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence,” I would add: “Positions frequently, and inevitably, must accommodate the inadequacies of those who fill them.”
Engaged organizations shift the goalposts for both management and the rank-and-file by redefining success. A great manager assists employees in focusing on workplace goals that best leverage their unique talents. A great team assists each player in achieving a common goal while maximizing each player’s talents. People are motivated to come to work when they enjoy what they do and are praised for their efforts. Everyone can feel successful when the “job” becomes a source of pride and enjoyment.
Examine your workplace environment. Are your employees having a good time while producing excellent results? If not, consider redefining what constitutes “success” for both your employees and your organization. Success may be as simple as re-aligning people to roles where they can excel and your company can thrive.
Employees are more likely to achieve their level of excellence when they are focused on their passions in conjunction with organizational and customer objectives. This mission requires people-focused leaders who focus on developing people rather than climbing to their eventual level of incompetence.
Jonathan Jones (Jonathan.email@example.com or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.