Monthly Archives: October 2010

Sooner or Later It’ll Catch Up with You: Technical Expertise Isn’t Enough

Most of us are familiar with the Peter Principle, the observation that people get promoted to the level of their incompetence—that is, that their skills lead to promotion but they can easily end up in situations their skills aren’t a match for.

We don’t necessarily look very hard into the reasons this happens, however, and lessons in how to avoid it.

From our vantage point at the Public Management Center, we meet a lot of people who have sharp technical skills—they’re great IT programmers, terrific highway engineers, savvy accountants—whose organizations want to leverage those skills by moving them into management roles.

But if the organization lacks a sufficient budget for or focus on managerial training – which is often the case in the public sector given the tight budgets and shrinking staffs – these technical experts may not get the appropriate education or mentoring to set them up for long term success and continual improvement in their new role.

They may attend a two-day or week-long management course to outline the legal and HR issues related to their new role, and hopefully they’ll get exposed to some important management concepts.

How one might implement these concepts, though, or how to deal with issues such as employee motivation, intra-departmental conflict, or process improvement can be beyond the scope of these trainings.

Our Kansas Certified Public Manager course offers a way to fill that gap. The year long program bring public sector managers together two days per month to develop the managerial competencies necessary to effective staff supervision and project oversight.

If you see yourself as a technical expert but feel that you want to enhance your skills in supervision and management, our Certified Public Manager program may be for you. Learn more at We’re now enrolling for 2011.