There, they are likely to sit for quite some time before they quit in frustration or are removed from the position. Which means, of course, that at any one moment, there are probably an awful lot of people holding positions for which they are not entirely qualified.
The Peter Principle plays out at all levels of an organization, but particularly in management positions. This is due, I think, to a mistaken notion held by many people — that they know a great deal about how to manage, when in fact they know relatively little.
Management, at its core, requires mastery of several overlapping competencies. These include the abilities to manage time, projects, resources and people — each of which demands a distinct set of skills and knowledge. Such competencies are generally honed only through a combination of proactive training and practice, and yet, for some reason, most of us are convinced we’ll “just absorb them” after a year or two in a lower-rung job — without any specialized training.
The thing is, this doesn’t happen only in business.
It happens in all areas of our lives, including managing our own health and fitness. Here, too, we are convinced that we should be able to “run the show,” despite having little or no training in the competencies required to do the job well.
For starters, we must have the ability to manage time (so that we can fit physical activity, healthy eating, outdoor time and stress relief into the tightly woven fabric of our lives). We must have the ability to manage projects (so that we can establish intelligent training plans that suit our current level of fitness and our personal goals, and also so that we can master the basic routines of healthy cooking and eating). We must have the ability to manage resources (so that we can allocate our energy, money and focus in ways that support our healthy choices). And finally, we must have the ability to manage people (our own needs, motivations, strengths and weaknesses, of course, but also the influences and expectations of those around us).
That’s a pretty tall order. No wonder so many of us are overweight and suffering from poor health and lackluster fitness. Despite our best intentions, we’ve essentially risen to our current level of incompetence. We assume we have what we need to succeed, but we’re lacking the proficiencies and discernments necessary to be successful at the next level. Essentially, we don’t know what we don’t know.
It seems like it shouldn’t be so hard. After all, radiant health is supposed to be our natural state of being. And in truth, health and fitness don’t have to be all that complicated: Just eat your food the way nature intended (fresh and whole), spend lots of time being active, get plenty of sleep, be around people you love and don’t get overly stressed.
But in the scheme of things working against us — our busy lives and sedentary pastimes, the preponderance of unhealthy foods, the pressures of consumer society, the peddling of quick-fix diets and pills — living healthy now demands a higher level of skill and health awareness than most of us can easily muster. It also requires a level of consciousness, discipline and perspective that many of us are challenged to maintain on a consistent basis. In short, if we are going to become competent in managing this area of our lives, it looks like we are going to need some proactive training and practice.
At Life Time Fitness we’re striving, through our clubs as well as through all our educational and training programs, to empower people with the resources and support they need to get and stay healthy. And of course, we also publish Experience Life magazine, which helps us reach out to more than half a million people with every issue, offering a powerful combination of guidance, insight and inspiration that health-motivated people can count on to help them change their lives for the better.
I invite you to spend a few moments with this issue of the magazine. Then decide if you’re ready to embark upon some growth-management strategies of your own.