I am often amazed by apparent illogical behaviour at levels of the organization where seniority and excessive salaries should suggest otherwise.

Take for instance the following story. Sometime ago I’ve attended an IT staff meeting chaired by the CIO of a large corporation. If you’ve been to one of these presentations you’d know what I’m talking about. Lots of PowerPoint slides, big words and false promises. 

Anyway, as we were taken through the slides one particular slide caught my eye and I instantly looked around to gauge the reaction of the crowd. The slide, discussing the current IT department’s performance had the following to say:

100% of projects on time and on budget

Restraining myself and containing my excitement until after the presentation finished, I’ve approached the CIO and asked the obvious question: Are you sure this slide is correct? is it possible that some hidden assumptions have been introduced in order to justify such a grand proclamation? Without any hesitation the CIO told me that the slide is absolutely correct, no hidden agendas or assumptions!


Call me skeptic but I absolutely don’t like absolutes and I can’t accept anyone saying that all projects have delivered on time and on budget (although I did not ask the CIO whether or not the projects met their quality requirements).

This is a clear and present example of the Peter’s Principle in action. It is the law that states that “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence“.

So the case I have described above could be the non-accidental result of one of the following unfortunate events:

  1. The CIO was promoted to his/her level of incompetence
  2. The CIO’s direct reports were promoted to their level of incompetence
  3. All of the above

And now a question to you. If you were the CEO of this corporation and the CIO were to submit a report claiming all projects completed successfully, what would you do?

Think about it!

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  4. Case of unknown unknowns. The manager simply doesn’t know what the right behaviours are, and is probably directed in the wrong way by bad kpis


    • Craig, you’ll be in big trouble if Glen sees your comment as the concept of “unknown unknowns” is not applicable here. A CIO is ought to know what he/she are meant to know. I would have thought that on the path to becoming a CIO you will come across the concept of uncertainty and the randomness that stands between us and %100 certainty. It’s probably all about the bonuses. To get your bonus you need to report %100, so you are right, the KPI’s are skewed.


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