Promoting People at Random Is No Worse Than Randomly Promoting Competent People

An interesting new study new shows that two methods are at least as good as the current method of promoting competent individuals up the ladder :

The first is to alternately promote first the most competent and then the least competent individuals. And the second is to promote individuals at random. Both of these methods improve, or at least do not diminish, the efficiency of an organization.


Because the “Peter Principle” shows that:

Members in a hierarchical organization climb the hierarchy until they reach their level of maximum incompetence.

The basis of the Peter Principle is that:

Common sense tells us that a member who is competent at a given level will also be competent at a higher level of the hierarchy. So it may well seem a good idea to promote such an individual to the next level.

In other words, people are promoted until it becomes obvious they are not doing a good job in their higher-level position.

But the assumption that someone good at their job will also do well when given more responsibility isn’t necessarily true. This is especially true when the new job requires skills of a different nature than the old job.

Smart management should test the applicant for ability in areas of the new job skills instead of just assuming that competence in one area will translate into competence in another.

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