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.