The Peter Principle. Some, perhaps many, have heard of it. Fewer understand it. Put in layman’s terms, it involves the very real misconception that you can be whatever you want to be. I’m sorry to be the one to break the hard truth to you, but you can want to be anything; that does not mean that you can. Everyone has a level of competence. Trying to surpass your own level of competence results in failure, and more importantly, shame.

There are those of arrogant and egotistical ilk who believe the principle doesn’t apply to them. We’ve all known them. The person you worked with who was very good at what they did, but felt like they would be just as good at a higher level, only to reach it and crash with a reputation of being incompetent. 

When it comes to positions of leadership, there are strategies frequently employed to minimize the fallout. One, used by an incompetent leader, such as we now have, is to hire or appoint people more incompetent than you are. This leaves the door open for plausible deniability.

History repeats itself. Live long enough, and you will see it firsthand. We’re witnessing Watergate all over again. At least Nixon had common sense enough to walk away. This one feels untouchable.

EDWARD CONN II

Warrenton