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I ran across this quote in my paper today:

"The noblest of all dogs is the hotdog; it feeds the hand that bites it." ~ Lawrence J. Peter

It's new to me, although it may be well-known to others; I thought it very clever and funny.

It's intriguing that Mr Peter is the author of The Peter Principle, which states that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence."


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence."

And often stay there till retirement.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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The Peter Principle used to be often quoted, but now that it is so blatantly obvious that he was dead right, one doesn't hear about it much any more. However, the Dilbert comic strip seems largely based on Peter's premise. http://www.dilbert.com/


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Yes, agreed. I've really seen the Peter Principle in effect in organizational work. It's sad to see successful people get promoted, only to see them fail at their new jobs.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
Yes, agreed. I've really seen the Peter Principle in effect in organizational work. It's sad to see successful people get promoted, only to see them fail at their new jobs.

The Peter Principle is often quoted and there is a seductive obviousness about it that has people nodding sagaciously, since we can all cite examples of incompetent managers and assume that they have been promoted to their level of incompetence.

The problem is that this assumption is almost always wrong, since it assumes that ability and knowledge, and thus competence, are inherent personal characteristics and that, once a person is promoted to a level where he or she is incompetent, that's the end of the matter; competence will never be achieved.

Of course, there are instances where this might be the case; a five-foot-tall basketball player will never become competent in a game where six-foot-plus players are the norm. But in many instances the incompetence is due to a lack of proper training. How many of the incompetent managers we all know have had any training at all in management skills? Apocryphal evidence in the UK is that the figure is fewer than 10% of managers have had any training at all - so 90% of managers are likely to be incompetent since they have been promoted to a level at which they are incompetent WITHOUT BEING TRAINED FOR THE JOB.

When I was promoted to manager, I received my promotion because I was a jolly good travel consultant, technically efficient and a wow with the customers. When I was offered the managership I bought a new shirt, polished my shoes with real polish, and walked into my new agency with a door marked "Manager". And I made a shocking mess of the job - I was totally incompetent. I did ask for training but was told, by my regional manager, "What do you need training for? I never had any training!" So I paid for my own training and very quickly discovered just what staff management was and why I wasn't doing it properly. The eventual result was that I became a good manager and was eventually head-hunted by ABTA to train others in management skills.

And did the Peter Principle apply to me because I had become a trainer - a very different job than being a manager? No. It did not. Because I was properly trained to do the job and became a good trainer. And if you are unfortunate enough to have been on a training course that is a boring waste of time, I will make a prediction - the trainer has been given the job of training because he or she was good at his or her job (management or whatever) - and has not been trained in trainer skills.

Read Lawrence Peter's books by all means - they are an easy read and make some good points - but don't embrace his Principle whole-heartedly.


Richard English
 
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Can someone who is in, or been in, management be expected to present an unbiased account of management competency?


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Can someone who is in, or been in, management be expected to present an unbiased account of management competency?

Yes. Providing he or she has been trained in the skill of presentation.


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
Read Lawrence Peter's books by all means - they are an easy read and make some good points - but don't embrace his Principle whole-heartedly.


I don't embrace it WHOLEHEARTEDLY. There are a few of us who consistently refuse promotions to posts we aren't qualified for and don't want. I've done it quite often.
 
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I don't embrace it WHOLEHEARTEDLY. There are a few of us who consistently refuse promotions to posts we aren't qualified for and don't want. I've done it quite often.

Peter himself did just that. He was a lecturer and refused promotion to an administrative level because he enjoyed what he did and was good at it. He didn't think he would be good at administration. That is a positive decision about career choice and is a very sensible one.

But those who wish to get to a higher operative level should take opportunities that are offered - but need to be supported with proper training or they will be quite likely to fail.


Richard English
 
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The problem is that this assumption is almost always wrong, since it assumes that ability and knowledge, and thus competence, are inherent personal characteristics and that, once a person is promoted to a level where he or she is incompetent, that's the end of the matter; competence will never be achieved.

and
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I don't embrace it WHOLEHEARTEDLY. There are a few of us who consistently refuse promotions to posts we aren't qualified for and don't want. I've done it quite often.

Well, of course, the Peter Principle doesn't occur in 100% of all promotions. However, whether you call it the Peter Principle or the English Principle, I believe it exists...and from my experience occurs quite frequently...in business today.

As for "training," I don't hear that word much in the U.S. Do my American compatriots here know what other word might be used with that concept of educating people for their new positions?

While, yes, you can learn new ways to work, I also believe not everyone has the right characteristics, people's skills, intelligence, etc., for every job. You can train many up the wazoo (or however it's spelled!), and they'll never be able to manage groups of diverse people because they just aren't wired for it. Similarly, some are more verbal and wouldn't work well in, say, computers, while others are much more techy types and can't put a letter to paper. Yet, in all those situations, I've seen promotions made, and accepted, and the person has failed miserably.
 
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As for "training," I don't hear that word much in the U.S. Do my American compatriots here know what other word might be used with that concept of educating people for their new positions?

Education and training - in UK English at least - have quite different meanings. Just think, if your daughter were to come home from school one day and told you that she had had sex education that day, you would be interested and hope that it had been a useful lesson. But were she to come home and tell you she had had sex training...

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Ours refers to "Learning and Development" (note capitals) in some places, but as "training" in others. The team that organises training is known as "Organisational and Professional Development".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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As for "training," I don't hear that word much in the U.S. Do my American compatriots here know what other word might be used with that concept of educating people for their new positions?

Either training or classes. (For example, one's new manager might say "I won't be in the office all day because I'm at a management class.") You've never heard of OJT, or on the job training, (link)?


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You've never heard of OJT, or on the job training,

That's how we process the presidency.


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In training circles a distinction is made between training (of any kind) and education - which is usually what happens in classrooms and lessons. In the most simplistic terms, education is usually about imparting knowledge; training is about helping people to use that knowledge. Of course the two things do overlap; in most training courses there will be an element of new knowledge to be imparted.

But the "sex-education" versus "sex-training" distinction is a worthwile one to remember.


Richard English
 
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I never minded the sex education but most of my training was solo.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I never minded the sex education but most of my training was solo.

We trainers accept that there is a place for self-learning, but most believe that facilitated learning is more effective (and usually more enjoyable).


Richard English
 
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Especially when the textbooks are illustrated.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Either training or classes. (For example, one's new manager might say "I won't be in the office all day because I'm at a management class.") You've never heard of OJT, or on the job training, (link)?
To be honest, z, no, not that much. In my field "training" is seen as a pejorative term so I assumed that was more broadly the case. Apparently I am wrong and it's only true for my field/profession. Training is seen as being very "task" oriented in my field, and while that is always needed, it certainly isn't the total educational requirement.
 
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Training is seen as being very "task" oriented in my field, and while that is always needed, it certainly isn't the total educational requirement.

That is probably true in all professions. As I tried to make clear earlier on, training and education are two different things. You can educate nurses as much as you wish, until they know absolutely everything there is to know about nursing from Florence Nightingale onwards.

But for them to achieve competence in their jobs they need more than knowledge: they need to know how to apply that knowledge. And that is the function of training.

Sadly it is true that in many cases formal training is denigrated by those who do not understand the concept of, and rationale for, training. I recall one MD I worked with who started his working life as a marine salesman in Glasgow before the war, and he effected to despise training. "I had no bleddy training" he would say, "I got oot and did the bleddy job". Well, of course, he was receiving training of a kind; he was acquiring skills by doing the tasks involved - which is the way we all learn most of our skills. But, had he received some formal training he would probably have acquired the selling skills he needed far more quickly and with less trauma.

It is a good thing, to my mind, that surgeons, 'bus drivers and pilots do not reply on his kind of self-directed learning - complete with its inevitable quota of mistakes - that so many of us believe is adequate in many jobs.

In every job there is a need for knowledge - which is largely the function of education - and skill, which is largely the function of training. There is another aspect, that of attitude, which is also usually a function of training, but I'll not start that particular hare right here.


Richard English
 
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In my field "training" is seen as a pejorative term

I believe it's called "internship". Does the medical professsion really allow incipient doctors and nurs4es to just run out and start cutting without showing the proper way to do so?


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Ah,..I just wrote a long response, only to be told my email address hasn't been confirmed (if you saw in Community, we have instituted a new email verification process because of recent spammers), and in the process of confirming my email address, lost the whole blasted post. Ugh!

To summarize what I lost, in nursing the word "training" is only used to mean teaching of the tasks themselves, though medicine sometimes uses it more globally. Indeed, in nursing "training" is one of those words that evokes a negative reaction, and I think it's because of our roots. We see "training" as showing students how to perform certain procedures, but none of the whys, whens, what to do when complications occur, are a part of "training." Education would include the entire process, where the teaching of the task itself would be the "training." I believe this is partly because nursing used to be an apprenticeship type of education mostly done in hospitals with informal teaching by physcians and nurses while they practiced. That teaching depended entirely on the luck of the draw of whom you worked with and much of the learning wasn't transferrable to other hospitals.

However, nursing education has now moved to the university and the education process has been standardized and goes through an approval or accreditation. This is a good thing as health care has become much more complex in the last 20 years, with sicker patients, increasing technology, and complicated systems to work in.

I suspect the word "training" just means different things in different cultures. Probably what I call "education," Richard calls "training."

As to your question, proof, first of all physicians don't "allow" nurses to do anything. Nurses have their own licenses and scope of practice is specified by their nurse practice acts in the state laws. But, no, nurses or physicians (remember, many nurses are "doctors" too), aren't allowed to just go start cutting. They are educated on the task itself, as well as all the principles and implications associated with it.

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In the engineerng companies I once worked for, training was secretly held in contempt because the entire enterprise had been glued onto bureaucracies such as ours in order to conform with federal regulations-- so that we could bid on federal jobs. We were part of "projects", they were part of "overhead."

Management training (at least in big American engrg/constr companies) from what I glean from my husband (still at it) is a mixed bag. Brass-tacks supervisory training is a necessity, and seems to be well-done. But there's an awful lot of faddish pseudo-psychological 3-day seminars that are called management training and have very little to do with the work of the trainees.
 
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I suspect the word "training" just means different things in different cultures. Probably what I call "education," Richard calls "training."

So do the expressions "sex education" and "sex training" mean the same things in US English? Because they surely don't in UK English!

quote:
But there's an awful lot of faddish pseudo-psychological 3-day seminars that are called management training and have very little to do with the work of the trainees.

Training, like any other job, can be well-done, less well-done or completely incompetently done. But I suggest it would be very wrong to condemn the work of behavioral psyhchologists out of hand, simply because their findings and theories have nothing directly to do with the job in hand. Elton Mayo's work at the Hawthorne Works in Chicago, nearly a century ago now, had nothing directly to do with the task of assembling telephone switching relays. But his findings (which many managers will never even heard of, let alone tried to use)laid the foundations of management theory about motivation.

Whereas there are very many good managers who head up highly motivated teams and who have received no formal management training, most effective managers will have. And I'd be willing to bet that the ineffective managers, whose staff hate working for them, will certainly not have received proper management training.


Richard English
 
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And I'd be willing to bet that the ineffective managers, whose staff hate working for them, will certainly not have received proper management training.


I'd take that bet. The worst managers I've had, and I've had some real stinkers, are the ones who have been on the training courses, can spout the management bullshit jargon until their faces turn blue and are up to date on every bonkers theory that's out there.
As you said there are some very bad trainers around and bad training is much worse than no training.
 
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But, no, nurses or physicians (remember, many nurses are "doctors" too), aren't allowed to just go start cutting. They are educated on the task itself, as well as all the principles and implications associated with it.

At some point a doctor (or nurse) has to abandon the classroom and actually do work with and on human beings. While you may want to call it "imparting knowledge", I would call learning by doing what to cut and what not is "training." And not calling it that merely reflects the imperious attitude held by many in medicine (present company excepted, of course).


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Well, call it what you will, proof. To me and most in my profession, it's called nursing or medical education.
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So do the expressions "sex education" and "sex training" mean the same things in US English? Because they surely don't in UK English!
Sex training? By that do you mean sex therapy? Yes, I'd definitely define those two terms differently. Sex education usually refers to the education in schools about safe sex, STDs, contraceptives, etc. Again, though, I am sure there are differences, across cultures, in how sex education is used. Sex therapy, however, is more about how's (forgive the apostrophe, but it didn't look right without it).
 
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Sex training? By that do you mean sex therapy?

No.

Sex eduction is learning about sex. Sex training is about putting that knowledge into use; practising it so as to improve one's competence.

Or to put it in possibly less emotive terms: Being educated about Baseball means learning all about the game - its origins, its heroes, its teams, its supporters' clubs, its rules, the different kinds of play and tactics - all there is to know about the game. But this kind of education, worthy though it is, and essential though it might be to any fan or player, is in addition to, and not a subsitute for, training. Training is what the players do every day when they're not actually playing a game. They are applying their knowledge, practising their skills, achieving and continually improving their competence in their jobs as players.

Both education and training have their part to play in human development; one without the other is always less effective than the two combined.


Richard English
 
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I see the Spambots are still getting rubbish through.

Had feder34 been a genuine contributor, he would have realised from the other postings to this thread that it has nothing whatsover to do with canines. But Spambots search only for keywords; they are not yet (heavens be praised) clever enough to interrogate text and comprehend meaning.


Richard English
 
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Sex eduction is learning about sex.

Sex-ed in the British public school, the Monty Python version, take 1 (link). [Warning: not for the prudish.]


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In the world of U.S. higher ed administration we called such training seminars "staff development" sessions. But when some of us had to learn to use the new web content management system, we called it training. So, yes, I think that in the U.S., "training" is task-specific.

When I was promoted to director of my small PR department, I received no offer of training or staff development, and the first couple of years were pretty difficult, but I took advantage of conferences that provided "professional development" through an association in which I was active. And then I began to take MBA courses, and found that I could apply approaches and techniques I had learned about in class to the goings-on in my small office. That was more than training or staff development. That was education, and I found it the most helpful of all. I think and hope that I was never promoted to a level of my highest incompetence! Thank God for retirement!

Wordmatic
 
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In training circles, "Staff Development" is the overarching expression that refers to all activities and ways in which staff may be changed for the better. There are many ways in which this may happen: education, training, self-learning, to name but three.

Usually staff will be developing throughout their careers (the alternative is stagnation) but the effectiveness of the development depends on the efficiency of the systems in place to facilitate it.


Richard English
 
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