Recognizing Reasons for Complacency and Methods to Combat It. Studio Franco Document Writing

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Complacency. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines it as:
"self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies."

Before reading this document, the following statement needs to be understood
Complacency should not be confused with dedication, at this company.

In addressing complacency in the workplace – the single most important reason for its existence is the lack of a cohesive vision, communicated in clear succinct detail and communicated often.

When the minority report of the group monitoring NASA’s progress in making the space shuttle fleet safer after the loss of the Columbia said in August 2005 that NASA “must break [the] cycle of smugness substituting for knowledge,” it put its finger on a challenge that afflicts all successful organizations:
how to avoid the complacency that inevitably accompanies success, and how to use knowledge to reduce the risks that complacency brings with it.

The issue of complacency is endemic in all large organizations.

This report reviews the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, including several for dealing with situations where knowledge is no help.

Root Causes of Organizational Complacency:
The first step in dealing with the problem is to recognize how deep-rooted and intractable it is. Many common assumptions and behaviors promote complacency.
These are the most important:

Excessive Reliance on Prior Success :
The more often a particular routine achieves a successful outcome, the more likely people are to develop an unwarranted belief that success is assured. The reality is that the opposite is true where random risks are involved: the probability of risk materializing increases over time.

Arrogance of Experts:
Disdain for laymen or for experts in other fields is a perennial tendency of the expert. The fact that the expert is right more often than the laymen can lead to the illusion that he is always right.

Over-Accentuation of the Positive:
Management is an action-oriented activity. The can-do mind-set that is necessary for getting things done may discourage listening to nay-sayers and skeptics, even when their viewpoints have merit.
Nevertheless, most high-value knowledge lies in negative narratives that reveal the pitfalls, difficulties, and obstacles that lie in the way of success.
Because such narratives can be seen as a threat to management plans and objectives, fear of negative career consequences can hamper their dissemination.

Over-Reliance on Technology:
Technical specialists have a tendency to believe in the infallibility of their technology, particularly in areas where they have some knowledge and control. This can be a serious problem for computerized safety systems, which can generate a false sense of infallibility.

Staff develop reliance on e-mail even when they are only an office apart, or a phone call away: the thinking being that once the e-mail is sent – the issue is dealt with.
The Buck Is Passed

The "Black Swan" Bias:
People tend to discount the possibility of unprecedented risks. Because all the swans they have seen are white, they assume black swans do not exist.
A black- swan event is beyond the realm of normal expectations and tends to be discounted, even by experts.
The difficulty of learning from black-swan events is compounded by the fact that they rarely repeat.
Learning from the discovery of one black swan that black swans are possible doesn’t prepare us for, say, a platypus.

Groupthink occurs when people are deeply involved in a cohesive group whose striving for unanimity overrides a realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.

Large organizations often exhibit symptoms of groupthink, including illusions of invulnerability and a sense of superiority; collective rationalization and. . .
- stereotyping of outsiders as uninformed
- ignoring contrary data
- suppressing alternative viewpoints
- and shielding leadership from dissent

Complacency and Your Company

Issues that are be outlined FOR DISCUSSION.

These issues are faced by all medium and large organizations.

Your Company is not alone.
Any organization where the boss / manager / employer is not in direct contact with employees on and hourly / daily basis is a “medium organization” for the purpose of this report.

Complacency or Misperception: separating complacency from other “easy” issues
What is being identified as “complacency”
What is understood to be complacency or acts of complacency
What has been done previously to prevent or reduce complacency
Discerning between “job workers” from “career opportunists”

- Evaluating Competency Levels
- Chiefs and Indians / Leaders and Troops
- The Changing Role of Promoted Individuals
- Do Promoted Individuals Share the Corporate Vision? Can They? Are They Even Capable?
- Attrition Through Promotion

Corporate Vision vs Organizational Practice
- Multiple Goal Posts Syndrome
- Erosion by Floating Deadlines
- Cascading Goalposts
- Organizational Roadblocks
- 10% Investment

- Go Ugly Early
- Communicating Corporate Goals Understanding Relational Functions
- Internal Reporting
- Employee Evaluation / Corporate Evaluation

1. What is being identified as “complacency”

Referring to: "self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies." –
we can read: “self-satisfaction” and “unawareness”
Employees have a right to self-satisfaction for a job done well.
Displaying self-satisfaction whilst performing poor work – requires a warning.

It is not the purpose of this report to go into all the reasons for “poor work”, except where perceived complacency is concerned.

Complacency can be perceived by the following identifiers:
repetition of the same mistake – failure to follow the rectifying instruction
taking short-cuts that result in later problems – failure to follow procedure
avoiding making a decision or buck-passing – procrastination without consultation
occupational paralysis – unsure of what is expected or what to do in certain event
incomplete “side-line” tasks – possible priority or time-management issues

The first can be put down to employee incompetence.
The next three are the result of failures in a company’s systems to prevent these things from occurring.
The last is generally the result of company mis-direction

2. What is Understood to be Complacency or Acts of Complacency

“Comfort will kill you. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you sit there long enough.”

Complacency is the satisfaction with oneself and ones accomplishments. It can sometimes be associated with conceit. Arrogance sets in, especially if ones budget or quota is attained in excess monthly.
This is dangerous because one starts believing that as long as one attains ones quota, anything is OK.
Next, one becomes comfortable with ones current situation resulting in laziness, and soon the desire to succeed vanishes.

We all become so desensitized by our daily routine that we can't see the forest for the trees.

We get into a "zone" where we are able to deal with the influx of information and perform with little or no trouble. Herein lies the problem. We become careless. We tend to gloss over those items that seem less threatening, but could end our day in disaster.

We hold the belief that "it can't happen to me.

In my research regarding complacency – the majority of results regarding the dangers of complacency were published by:
the military
commercial aviation industry
fire-fighting organizations
electrical utility providers
computer IT security forums

They continually referred to these following points in some or manner.
unsafe workers who cut corners to get the job done.
the rules become irrelevant under pressure
(a person can be) useful because they know where to skip tiresome / time-consuming rules
procedures not implemented because they were not deemed of sufficient importance

Now, all these professions work with very real hazards, and imminent death - where that one error equates to an Extinction Level Event.

In the corporate world, read:
“imminent death = commercial suicide”
“extinction level event = bankruptcy”

“Make sure you never reward anyone for working dangerously”.

Or in Your Company’s case, “for sailing too close to the wind”.

3. What Has Your Company Done Previously to Prevent or Reduce Complacency?

Discerning between “job workers” from “career opportunists”.

In addressing this point – we have to differentiate between these two classes of employee.
Non –Aspirational and Aspirational.

The first class– who are approximately 80 - 85% of the employable work-force.
Work from 8 to 5. They come to work. They work. They leave.

The second class are self-starting go getters. You never get to fire them.
They are always on the look-out for new pastures. Promotion and / or directorship.
Failing this - they move on.
They lack complacency. That’s them out of the equation.

So back to the “job workers”. There will be some amongst them who can be driven to achieve. As soon as they get the idea – it is not long before they too set out for greener pastures. No complacency there. Them out of the equation also.

If they have become wise in the companies vision, some may stick it out in the hopes of further promotion or remuneration.
Either way, they are not complacent. But committed.
If commitment fails – it fails because the company “failed” them, or/and they move to a better opportunity elsewhere. Onward and up-ward.
That’s them out of the equation.

That leaves us with the rest. It is here that the greatest degree of complacency occurs.
Young career starters and the average office worker. They have no desire to “buy-in” to company long range goals.
Even if they buy-in to the company’s activities and vision, their perceptions are: Long-range goals are for the company owners and share-holders.

Pushing them, merely results in resentment on both sides, resignations or firings, re-employments. Business as usual.

Make no mistake – complacency exists from the office cleaner to the board of directors.
The board of directors are merely the first to wake up to it because it affects their bottom line, and the businesses ability to grow.

SOLUTIONS: Evaluating Competency Levels

Stop complacency in its tracks.
Complacency on the job de-motivates and damages. And it spreads like a disease from one worker to another. One employee sees a co-worker taking a shortcut and figures, "If he can do it, why can't I?"

You can't afford to let complacency take over in your workplace. Use motive meetings and other training opportunities to get the message across that complacency is dangerous—as dangerous as any machine, chemical, or other recognized workplace hazard.

Through a strong commitment to service delivery training and awareness, you can create a service delivery culture that seeks out and eradicates complacency, replacing it with an emphasis on alertness, planning, hazard identification, problem solving, and mistake / accident prevention.

4. Chiefs and Indians / Leaders and Troops

Every organization of people requires a chain of command once a certain number of participants is exceeded.
with two people – each is responsible for the actions of the other as well as him/herself
three people – dynamics of leadership begin to assert themselves. The strongest will control the scenario.
by ten people – “areas of responsibility” has devolved to “groups in the organization”
at twelve people – “group dynamics” is a reality. There had better be a leader with a plan.

This assumes “a cohesive vision, communicated in clear succinct detail and communicated often”.

Assumption is the MAIN CONTRIBUTING CAUSE of complacency.
Assumptions can easily be replaced with reality by placing a Line-manager (team leader) in charge of the team.
This creates a line of reporting and designates areas of culpability.
Although management has indicated a resistance to this idea, there is no other possible solution.

OBSERVATION: At this point I must mention that the observation by your Production Department: that I was ”too demanding and too driving” as a reason for replacing me – has to be one of the weakest excuses and the worst solution to dealing with the “perceived problem”.

The fact that I have now been commissioned to write an Autopsy Report on the fall-out resulting from The Company’s poorly thought out decision process points to nothing less than dangerous negligence of corporate procedures:
Remove the person in charge – and make no replacement.
Equals ‘Vacuum’.
Equals ‘Catastrophe’.

This is not the same as the Queen Bee scenario that was previously discussed.

A clear cut directive from management with a supporting concept of corporate vision, was conveyed with the relevant urgency required for the project at that time.

Now, in the chain of command – the Production Manager has no one to complain to.
That person can only advise management, or suggest recommendations regarding managements requirements for implementation.

That team members sought to complain to management, is indicative of their will to Not Perform to required spec. – or perhaps an inability to deliver on unachievable goals.

A solution would have been to have a group discussion to find out where the problems actually lay.

If management thinks that the problem is resolved by removing the Production Manager, and having a euphemistically, so-called “flat system”, then that team, by definition, MUST BE REPORTING TO MANAGEMENT.

Not having a discussion to determine where the problem lay – has left a vacuum in production.
Work pressures conspired to reduce the importance of clear-cut management systems.
Hence the failure.
Hence the now added pressure on management

5.Recognise The Changing Role of Promoted Individuals

Promotion means a CHANGE of duties.
Promotion does NOT mean continuing with ones duties – WHILST TRYING TO MANAGE A TEAM.

Promotion of an individual team member to a Line Manager should mean that that individuals role is to manage and to lead.
NOT to do the work that the team is doing, but to MANAGE the flow of work duties.

If Your Company has failed in this regard, it is because this “Change of Functions” was overlooked or disregarded.
By Management. This can be labelled as “Disastrous Indifference”.

A company has a vision and goals.
The goals are communicated to the employees
The vision is communicated to line managers
The line managers are put in position to inculcate that vision and ensure that employee activity is directed toward achieving their goals
The company communicates to all employees that: the function of line management is to direct employee efforts by implementing company policy to achieve company goals. And company vision.

All the loop-holes for complacency to gain entry, exist:
If the goals are not communicated
If the vision is not communicated
If line management lack commitment to the vision
If the company fails to communicate where function, duty and culpability lie

6. Do Promoted Individuals Share the Corporate Vision? Can They? Are They Even Capable?

"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

Capability can only be determined from observation.
If you want a competent individual – you should be teaching them to do your job.
Then you can promote them into your position.
Then you can promote your self without leaving a vacuum.
And this can only be done with the class of individual mentioned earlier: The Aspirational

A “flat management” structure is a pipe-dream.
It assumes that every individual knows the fine detail of every position, and that every individual knows these details.
Nice for a small company, where there is no hierarchy.
Dangerous for a large organization, where interchangeability may be possible within a level of hierarchy.
Impossible. between hierarchies.

Read “Extract from The Peter Principle” at the end of this document

7. Attrition through Promotion

This is inevitable.
Employee gets promoted into a position where their daily function does not change.
What they now just have is more responsibility viz: to guide the functions of others.
This invariably affects their performance level of their previous daily functions.
They become dissatisfied.
They resign.

Or this:
Following promotion, they soon shrug off their previous daily functions, as a matter of course.
This so they can dedicate themselves to managing their new position.
Following managements dissatisfaction with their shedding of previous daily functions, and employee dissatisfaction with managements expectation that previous daily functions should be continued, relationships are fractured.
They become dissatisfied.
They resign.

Occasionally this:
The employee becomes good at what he/she is doing. Tries to do better.
Sees opportunity to effect some changes that may improve employee performance, that have been troublesome since when they were doing whatever they were doing.
Finds that there is no avenue of free discourse with management. ie: resistance
They become dissatisfied.
They resign.

And Eventually this:
If they survived the previous three scenarios, they realize they have reached the ceiling for promotion in that organization
They become dissatisfied.
They resign.

The solutions to all of these are fairly obvious and merely require discussion.

Corporate Vision vs Organizational Practice

Multiple Goals Syndrome

All companies have a corporate vision. There are stumbling blocks in the route to achieving that vision, but these can be overcome in the methods of Organizational Practice.

That companies have to pursue multiple goals is a given. The manner in which the goals are managed, prioritized and achieved is an art.

That organizations within a company must ALSO pursue multiple goals, is a recipe for disaster. And this is where Organizational Practice needs to be managed.
Hence the need for Line Managers, or at least Team Leaders to deal with the details.

Failing this one simple realisation is then the responsibility of Management to deal with the details – which is a recipe for catastrophic failure.
The “wheels come off!” ype of thing.

The corporate goals should always drive the goals of every organization within it.
These goals usually represent the top priorities of what the company is attempting to accomplish.
The goals need to be clear and specific as to the expected results.
The priorities of the business are usually aligned to topics such as Customer Satisfaction, Revenue Growth, Quality, Cost Management, and Leadership Development.

These priorities – communicated to the employees on a weekly or monthly basis, require reinforcement whether by task, by the day.

If we see an organizational structure as comprising:
- Top Priorities - Processes
- Tasks or business model to reach the goal - Job Roles
- Responsibilities to execute the process

- People: The individuals who must perform the roles

Then Problems with Management creating multiple goals occur where:
People working toward the same goal have not all been briefed together – and therefore work separately, on their part of the task, and thus not necessarily in concert.

ie: they are not all working on the same goal at the same time.
Because they are partially dedicated to some previous goal, which is equally urgent.
Resulting in delays.

An individual has several divergent goals at once, which splits their concentration: ie. working on new goal “B” whilst thinking about what still needs to be done on goal ”A”.

It is at this point where the judgment of a Team Leader is critical, in that focus is maintained on the task at hand. The team leader is concerned with corporate goals – the individual with organizational goals.

Without the Team Leader, every individual ends up reporting their problems directly to management, or trying to solve them in a way that is not in line with the corporate goal, or not reporting them at all until it is so late, that it becomes critical.

9. Cascading Goals

Leadership in Goal-Setting.
Goals are only worth the paper they're written on, if leaders don't bring them to life for the organization.

"In the 25 years I've been working in this field, I am constantly reminded that it is the CEO's responsibility to bring passion to the mission.
When I see CEOs who are passionate about the mission statement, it lights everybody up. If the CEO's not, neither are they."
Cascading Goals in the Organization
Findings indicate that there is a "disconnect" between what an executive staff understands about an organization's goals, and what the CEO believes they understand. In many cases, the don't even know what the goals are.

The term "cascading goals" is used to describe the process of adopting goals at different levels in a company. Like water over a cliff, goals must spill over and "cascade'' throughout an organization to be implemented.

"Cascading creates horizontal alignment in a company. All the staff at the same level need to gain agreement about what they will do to support the CEO's vision and minimize conflict.

How Cascading Works
Once the vision and main categorical goals are set at the CEO and managerial level, select a person who will champion the process of cascading goals.
He or she works to ensure that each department will create goals and action plans that support the goals of the company's leadership.

Communicating Goals
Updating people on their progress is critical. Goals must be visible and repeated to keep the commitment alive. Besides scheduled meetings, goals may be touted in: monthly e-mail messages, company newsletters, bulletin boards, and "surprise" coffee breaks, among others.

Ensuring Goal Implementation
Action Plans When everyone returns to their jobs after goal setting exercises, enthusiasm for the goals can be buried by the demands of day-to-day business. The first step is to develop action plans based on the goals-complete with incentives and consequences for non-performance.

Discussing consequences is critical in any goals-to-action plan. Often, the consequences are determined as the team works on the goals in the earliest planning stages. Encourage the team to arrive at the "three strikes and you're off the team" approach.

Experience dictates that peer-pressure creates such an intense expectation of performance that it causes action. The perceived humiliation of removal from the team is so great that most people act.

Monthly Management Meetings
Once your goals and action plans are set, schedule monthly management meetings to monitor progress. The original planning group should meet for a 90-minute session to recap the previous month; acknowledge progress and examine shortfalls; amend the plan if it needs to be changed; and, clarify the action plan for the next 30 days.

Coaching for Goals
Implementing goals that were set months ago requires discipline. The planning group has to follow through with their direct reports. The managers need the discipline to make the goals a priority over day-to-day firefighting in a business.

When Goal Setting Goes Wrong
How often have you set goals that are then set aside? Examine roadblocks if you have a pattern of abandoning organizational or corporate goals.

This may seem obvious. but surprisingly goals are often stated but not written down.

Stumbling Blocks for the CEO
Goal setting is not for the faint of heart. It's not for the passionless, either.
That the CEO spend some time weighing vision, goals and priorities alone -- or with an advisor – before inviting trusted managers and employees into the goal setting process. And if a working group comes up with some alternative suggestions or discovers shortcomings in the CEO’s proposal, there needs to be latitude in establishing why the working group has made these discoveries.

8. Erosion by Floating Deadlines and “Unplanned Work”

Floating deadlines start to occur when Multiple Goals exceed the capacities available to achieve them.

People, time, resources. Fragmented tasks means lost productivity due to having to re-familiarize one’s self with what was happening prior to the change in priorities.

Capacities are exceeded when there is no one to tell management to put on the brakes.

Reasons for understanding the change of priorities are not given.

Switching from task to task becomes too much to deal with because the authority to deal with setbacks is non-existent.

About "unplanned work" as the silent killer of efficiency.
Unplanned work is also known as "fire-fighting," and it usually means you're being totally reactive to what happens to you and your organization.

There are actually two types of unplanned work:
Type 1: This is our traditional definition of reactive fire-fighting in which you have to deal with urgent stuff you didn't expect.
Type 2: This is work that you've consciously added to your list, but for which you just don't have a plan.

One of the reasons for laxity in discipline comes from deadlines. It’s a weird thing actually – you put deadlines so that there is discipline, but the more deadlines you have, the more chaos it induces. Every times.

Deadlines make you focus, but focus so hard that most other things lag behind, and when this deadline gets over, you have to chase up to them, by which some other deadline sneaks up on you.
And it goes on and on.

People are fond of procrastination. The job of a Team Leader or Line Manager is to manage other peoples time – thus eliminating procrastination and the complacency that develops with it.

10. Organizational Roadblocks

Listed here are 10 Organizational Roadblocks to setting - and executing organizational goals:

Lack of clear-cut responsibilities around the goals
Lack of a tracking system
Lack of an accountability system
Lack of commitment
Lack of buy-in from people who are expected to fulfill the goals
Ineffective communication
Lack of time or resources
Too many goals are financially driven
Focusing on too many or too few goals
Goals aren't tied to a longer-term vision

Get agreement on the appropriate goals for your organization .
Write them down.
Keep them close by.
Get buy-in and alignment from those executing the goals.
Make them realistic and attainable.

Strategies for Dealing with Complacency

Because the root causes of organizational complacency lie deep in the human psyche, there is no known cure. Various organizational strategies for reducing the impact of complacency have been adopted, including
changing the organizational structure,
adjusting the discourse,
enhancing organizational values
getting ready for the unexpected
aiming for radical innovation.

The different approaches have varying strengths and weaknesses.

Changing the Organizational Structure
adjusting the organizational structure.
forcing attention on important issues that are often ignored.

From the research came 5 solutions. The first 3 of which I have eliminated the detail, because they are probably not relevant or actionable. The detail is available if required.

Give Organizational Independence to Analysts

Establish Formal Processes for Professional Dissent.

Introduce Structured Approaches to Managing Risk

Create Oases of Safety Through Communities of Practice:
A more flexible approach, growing out of knowledge management, gives communities of practice organizational blessing and support. Communities constitute “safe spaces” where experts can establish levels of trust needed to discuss even difficult, institution-threatening issues.
The approach is low cost and flexible and builds on the natural tendency of experts to learn by sharing experience. But communities can be fragile as they depend on the forbearance of hierarchical managers.

In the absence of active efforts to cross-fertilize from other disciplines or groups, they are also vulnerable to groupthink.

Structural Solutions:
Structural solutions are attractive because, apart from communities of practice, they can be implemented by managerial fiat. They generate explicit and consistent approaches to knowledge issues and create clear accountabilities. None of the structural solutions is guaranteed to work, however, because the results depend on the quality of the discourse taking place within the various structures.
Discourse by E-Mail is NOT Quality.

11. Upgrade the Quality of the Discourse

This involves the sacrifice of ego’s and queen-bees – thus forcing re-evaluation.
Discourse by E-Mail is not allowed.

Explicit efforts can be made to upgrade the quality of the discourse that takes place within organizational structures.

Efforts to upgrade the flow of professional dialogue comprise an array of tools and techniques, none of which is “the solution,” but all of which can make a contribution. The tools are flexible and generally low cost. They are, however, hard to institutionalize.
These approaches will lack robustness unless supported by strong organizational values.

Use Analysis to get the Best Possible Handle on Known Issues:
It is important to learn systematically from mistakes. Without systematic tracking of risk-related decisions and their effectiveness and training to correct for known biases, learning is likely to be limited.

Use Narrative Techniques to Expand the Range of Issues to be Addressed:
While analysis is good for dealing with known issues, it is impotent for evaluating issues that have not yet been formulated. Narrative techniques can help open up previously unimagined risks and reveal the nuances and interconnections of apparently unconnected risks.

One technique is pre-mortems. In a pre-mortem, planners are asked to imagine that their plan has been carried out and that it has failed and to think about what might have caused the failure.

Where the issues involve human behavior, role-playing and simulations can help overcome the problem of the time-lag in learning from real-life experience in complex situations. Research shows that role-playing can yield more accurate predictions than expert forecasts.

Take Active Steps to Enhance the Flow of Debate:
- The quality of discussion can be improved and the chances of defining and mitigating risk can be increased by:
- encouraging open discussions
- having group leaders solicit and receive feedback and criticism from others
- ensuring a mix of disciplines
- and getting outsiders involved in the discussion, so as to generate potentially creative tension
- taking time out to give individuals room to re-think, re-formulate, gather further data and re-present
- having non-participants explicitly assess the group’s dynamics to help flag phenomena that may be stifling debate.

12. 10% Investment

Where to Invest Your Ten PercentWe all have areas of strength and areas of weakness. A 10% improvement in a strength can make a huge difference; A 10% improvement in an area of weakness probably won't have nearly as much of an impact.
"Let's focus on how to make the most of ones strengths and make them even stronger."
When one feels really proud of ones results, it is usually when one is using ones strengths.

We only have so much time and energy. Where will we invest our 10%?

We should always strive to make choices that put us in situations where our strengths can make a real difference.

Hence: Go Ugly Early

There are remedies for complacency.
A Fortune 500 survey of executives stated that flexibility (being able to change) was one of the top four character traits that were pertinent when hiring new employees. This is encouraging, as well as other remedies for a complacent attitude:

Remember how you got to the top.  When you started out you believed, and when you believe you can achieve.

Work according to the direction of your employer and/or customer  -it doesn't matter what worked in the past. Today's guidelines will change again and again so acclimate to changeability.

Volunteer all the time.  Be the first to raise your hand when someone has to research a subject, give a presentation, or demonstrate a product.

Ask someone in the office that you respect  to keep you accountable and give you feedback on how you are progressing.

There is no doubt that complacency is dangerous. At the same time it can be a powerful career builder. You may believe that the fifteen years you have experienced in your career is substantial, but it could be that this is actually one year repeated fifteen times.

There is an old sports quote: "There is room at the top, but not enough to sit down."

Attacking Complacency on All Fronts

In any large organization, the struggle against complacency is an unending battle. All avenues reviewed in this article need to be exploited, including:
structural approaches to enhancing the sharing of knowledge

steps to enhance the quality of the dialogue that takes place within those structures

strenuous efforts to establish and transmit appropriate organizational values

explicitly preparing for the unexpected

creating a capability to undertake transformational innovation

Organizations cannot entirely eliminate risk or complacency, but serious and thoughtful efforts to counter complacency can help bring dangers to light and reduce the likelihood of failure.

The Peter Principle – an Extract

The principle pertains to the level of competence of the human resources in a hierarchical organization, and offers an explanation for the upward, downward, and lateral movement of personnel within a hierarchically organized system of ranks.

On a personal level, the practical application of the Peter Principle is that it allows assessment of the potential of any given employee for a promotion to a higher rank on the basis of job performance in his or her current position. It states that members of a hierarchical organization are eventually promoted to their highest level of competence, after which further promotion raises them to a level at which they may become incompetent.

Such a level is called the employee's “level of incompetence”, at which the employee has a dismal or no chance at all of being promoted any farther, thus achieving the ceiling of his career growth within a given organization.

The employee's incompetence is not necessarily exposed as a result of the higher-ranking position being "more difficult" — it may be simply that the position is different from the position in which the employee previously excelled, and thus requires different skills, which the employee may not possess.

An example used by Peter involves a factory worker whose excellence at his work results in him being promoted into a management position, in which the skills that got him promoted in the first place are no longer of any use and even prevent the employee from successfully performing his duties as a manager.

One way that organizations attempt to avoid this effect is to refrain from promoting a person until that person already shows the skills or habits necessary to succeed at the next higher position. Thus, a person is not promoted to manage others if he or she does not already display management abilities.

The corollary of this is that employees who are dedicated to their current jobs will not be promoted for their efforts, but might get a pay raise instead.
One complication is that competent employees will often pretend to be incompetent. The simplest reasons for this might be to avoid the jealousy of coworkers and/or to annoy managers. A more complex reason would be to avoid being promoted to a management position.

(This is especially common in industries such as big box retail chains where managers' base pay is rather low, and where they are "exempt employees” who are not entitled to overtime pay.)

Companies which practice performance improvement techniques often find that employees will deliberately leave room for improvement by starting out at less than peak effectiveness and only ramping up to full productivity later.
Employees will also deliberately underperform in order to keep quotas and other expectations from being set too high.

The implication of the Peter Principle for an organization as a whole is that the organization is prone to collapse when the number of incompetents among its ranks reaches a critical mass, resulting in the inability of the organization to perform its functions.

Where Does This Leave You?

The balance of this document is client-specific, and has bee redacted

But! You have had an opportunity to discover that I can research, and write.

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About Studio Franco

Saffron Road
Berkshire. U.K.
RG12 7BS

Design Freelance

My Mobile: +44 799 011 3314
WhatsApp: +27 76 129 9265

See Terms of Service

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday
08:00 - 17:00
Over-Time Rates Apply