Success Strategy: Strategic Incompetence

A+ A-

I know an executive who is an absolute whiz at fixing computer problems. Regardless of what's happening around him, he always finds time to find the missing e-mail, help someone get their computer to boot properly, or eradicate the virus that the admin seemed to have acquired by playing online solitaire. The problem with doing this is that he often leaves other more important items related to why the company pays him undone. He has been in the same position for years while other less competent (in my opinion) people have been promoted ahead of him.

Why did this happen? He was missing a key skill that almost every successful executive I know has perfected, Strategic Incompetence. "Strategic incompetence isn't about having a strategy that fails, but a failure that succeeds", says The Wall Street Journal.

I have a friend who is a master at this skill. When I asked her to get me a cup of coffee yesterday, she exclaimed, "I don't know anything about coffee, I don't drink coffee, and I don't know how to make it". Even though there was a fresh pot of coffee in the kitchen, she maintained her position that her lack of coffee knowledge completely exempted her from performing this task. Was I being lazy in asking her to get the coffee? Sure. Should I have just gone to the kitchen and fixed the coffee myself? Absolutely. Did I end up getting my own coffee? Yes.

What's the Point?
1. You get paid to do your job not someone else's. Regardless of how effective you were at planning the company picnic or helping Marketing with their powerpoint presentation, if you fail to meet your objectives then you will be removed from your position.

2. You deprive a junior member of your team to do something that they can do. If it's an important task, just not something that you should be doing, a junior member of the team will score major points by doing the job well. After all, you were promoted by doing the things that others would not do.

There are times that you should do undesirable tasks that are outside your scope. However, these decisions should be strategic as well. If it's something that will impress someone on a higher level or make someone who is important to your career look better, then do it. If it will add no value to you or your career, get out of it. Purity is achieved by what is taken out of something. Pollution is caused by what is added to something. If it is polluting, then remove it, you'll have more integrity in the end.
Personal Development 7167915835905032987
Home item


Popular Posts

Follow by Email