Withdrawing a Promotion

January 28, 2004

The Peter Principal

By: Jim Olsztynski

Almost everyone in business bumps into The Peter Principle at some point. Named after a best-selling book of decades ago, the PP describes individuals who rise to their level of incompetence.

For instance, its not uncommon for top-notch service technicians to be promoted to department managers and fail miserably. The skills needed for managerial duties are quite different than those that make a great service tech.

The difficult part for business owners is what to do when they discover the PP in their company. Too often, they end up firing the person who proves incompetent at a higher level job. Demoting the person to his/her old position is not a good solution if it involves reduction in pay and prestige. S/he is likely to quit or else be de-motivated.

The best way to handle it is to portray the move as something other than a demotion. It can be sold as coming to the rescue, as in, "Tom, were getting killed out in the field. We need a top-notch service tech to handle the difficult calls and be a mentor to the youngsters. You're more valuable to us out there than sitting behind a desk. Please help out the company by going back to your old job?"

Nine times out of 10 this will work, especially if the change comes with no reduction in pay and perks. And if you think a great service tech is worth less than a mediocre manager, you've got a bigger problem than The Peter Principle.

Excerpted from e-PHC Profit Report
A weekly e-newsletter filled with money-making tips for busy PHC professionals.
Contact: Jim Olsztynski, Editor-Publisher
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