There is a big difference between smart and effective. I’ve seen it again and again. Just because you can understand the structure of the environment does not mean that you can succeed in it. Maybe you have to be politically correct where you work, but it’s not in your nature. You know that’s what you need to do and you try, but occasionally your unguarded personality comes out when you are witness to something insane that makes no sense but that everyone goes along with. It’s decided that you don’t have that thing that makes the superiors decide you’re the right person to be the next manager. You were smart enough to see it, but you weren’t effective at managing yourself.

why unqualified people can rise into positions of power

Maybe you provide excellent customer service in an organization where the talking points from every single manager is about customer service, but the guy who pisses everyone off and attracts the most new members gets the promotion. In this case it’s that you have been recruited for who you are, not who they want you to be. You can see that you need to attract new members to get ahead, but making people happy is so much in your blood you don’t have that edge that’s needed.

Maybe you have a masters in economics but never got higher than high school economics teacher. Your neighbor never went to high school, but they know how to turn a dollar and dealing with stress doesn’t bother them. They turned a backyard auto repair business into a 10,000,000 a year buy-here pay-here series of car lots. You know how that business model works, how can you not? But the insane risk and intense stress in dealing with deadbeats all day every day kept you from making the leap.

This is a major point in why unqualified people can rise into positions of power.  It’s because they may not get the whole picture, but they do get the ‘one thing’ that is of primary importance; They are effective at the catapulting skill needed to accelerate and dominate.  

The smartest thing is not to try and understand your organization, but to understand yourself. What are you effective at? Then go find an environment where your skill is the real accelerant to drive yourself ahead.  

Posted by Mike Peluso

Mike Peluso writes about the collision between between the business / professional world and life. He also writes about the journey involved with the Peluso Presents efforts including the Blog, Books, and Podcast so that others may benefit from his efforts. From Mike: I spend hundreds of hours working on these articles every year with no compensation other than support I get through donations. You can support with a tip and by Subscribing to the Podcast (and writing a review on iTunes would be really appreciated as well!) One time tips:


  1. HI Mike,

    I have been following your blog for a while and just wanted to let you know I find it valuable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the PIC in the work force. I too have seen many unqualified people rise in a corporation. I think to a large extent the lack of understanding from senior mgmt about a role plays into this where all that they do grasp is some sound bite of accomplishment by the unqualified peer. I have come to realize that in many cases, what the PIC feels is important, senior mgmt has no appreciation of because they fail to understand the scope of the PIC’s body of work.




    1. Thank you for the kind words and for following along. It really helps knowing that there are people out there who read the articles. Feel free to share any of my stuff as you see any opportunity. Sharing is the best way we can build this community. Also, If you have any requests or thoughts, stories, or ideas that you think may make a good post, story, or area of research, please send them along. I’m always looking for more inspiration to help continue to grow the virtuous cycle.



  2. […] or should I say “what went write”?   A bunch really, I’m happy to say.   I have some great content, and some not so great – at least in my opinion, yours may differ. […]



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