5 votes

Survival of the Mediocre Mediocre

3 comments

  1. patience_limited
    Link
    Having survived an annual performance review yesterday with the CIO of a big company, I was reminded of this article and the ways in which excellence is not a strategy for long-term survival.

    Having survived an annual performance review yesterday with the CIO of a big company, I was reminded of this article and the ways in which excellence is not a strategy for long-term survival.

  2. [2]
    DonQuixote
    Link
    There are many precursors to this excellent article. One I remember is The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter : " In a hierarchy, everyone rises to their level of incompetence." Usually the...

    There are many precursors to this excellent article. One I remember is The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter : " In a hierarchy, everyone rises to their level of incompetence."

    Usually the concept is used humorously, because I think, like death, it makes us think of a dead end. Humans don't like that. Nassim Nicolas Taleb casts it differently. In his book Antifragility he conceptualizes antifragility as an idea that evolution or sustainability is based upon what we might call robustness. In his book, he goes on to outline components that go into antifragility.

    The fact that writers are here and there attempting to redefine humanity out of being extinct and a dead-end species causes me to see this redefining itself as a very human survival trait.

    1. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      It's an interesting optimization problem, in the "interesting times" and "what are you really optimizing for" senses. As far as organizations are concerned, the striking phrase in yesterday's...

      It's an interesting optimization problem, in the "interesting times" and "what are you really optimizing for" senses.

      As far as organizations are concerned, the striking phrase in yesterday's review was, "This year's "exceeds expectations" is your baseline for next year's "meets expectations"."

      From a personal utility standpoint, why should anyone optimize for excellence when the organization effectively punishes it by demanding ever greater effort? Per the article, resiliency or "antifragility" requires a margin of unused resources. If you're extracting every conceivable bit of effort from your employees, you've created a fragile system. And there's another old-but-good essay in this regard...