Nov 1, 2012

Why incompetent people succeed?

Everyone knows at least few of these people. They seem very incompetent on what they do, but still they seem to progress on their career all the time. They might do things totally opposite to your own thinking and it often seems that they don't get lot of things done. So how on earth they then succeed and get promotions and new jobs?

Competence is subjective. The ones who are competent on technical stuff often see that there are incompetent managers flying around in the organizations. That might be absolutely true, they might be quite incompetent on their technical skills. On the other hand they might have some other skill that is such a good one that is tackles the incompetence in tech stuff.

Another aspect of incompetence is priority. I have been always in RnD organizations, so I still the think the world from RnD focus. I sometimes see people, who don't understand products and processes to create products, as incompetent to do almost any job in organizations. Then when I'm surrounded with people from sales background, they don't see RnD to be that important, if important at all. They think that sales is the thing that keeps companies alive, not great products.

Point of view to the organizational success determines persons priority and priority often has a direct effect on quality of doing. Those who don't think marketing material is a key to companies success, often are quite poor to help on doing those. And therefore they might look to be incompetent when you are working with them.

Surely there are differences in skills with all people. Some are not as quick learners than others and some just can't see the big picture or can't understand the details. The main thing there is, that when thinking someone as incompetent, I've started to think about the strengths of the person. There must have been some skills that have brought her there. Then observing the person more closely, there almost always have been some things that she is such a good at that it overrules the other incompetences.

It's always better to try to learn from others than just envying what they have achieved. It is hard. Everyone has the little beast inside trying to say bad things about others to yourself. Just stay strong and fight back.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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