Management People

‘Failing Up’ & a Trio of articles on Management

I never heard the expression ‘failing up’ until I moved to LA. Apparently that is the business’s way of describing The Peter principle.

The Peter principle

I never heard the expression “failing up” until I moved to Los Angeles. Apparently that is the business’s way of describing The Peter principle, which Quartz recently obsessed over. For those unfamiliar, The Peter principle is the tendency for organizations to promote employees one level above their competency. And research is proving the principle true.

However, I think Pixar’s Ed Catmull has a humble way of considering Peters truths:

“We start from the presumption that our people are talented and want to contribute. We accept that, without meaning to, our company is stifling that talent in a myriad of unseen ways. Finally, we try to identify those impediments and fix them.”


Google’s re:Work continues to share useful information about management and I highly recommend for any producer who supervises someone to read through and consider their guide on how to Care professionally and personally for your team.

I am most intrigued by their article about Six HR metrics anyone can start tracking. The entertainment industry is notoriously bad at developing their employees. Which is to be expected when almost everyone is a freelancer. But this lack of interest in individual performance has two negative side effects for the industry as a whole. Firstly, it is easy for people to land jobs above their ability and experience. Secondly, lack of industry standards means we’re always wasting energy reinventing the wheel. Can we develop a set of object metrics to help evaluate someone’s abilities and experience?

How to Rands

Which brings us to my perennial favorite: Rands in Repose. How to Rands is an instruction manual for management by Michael Lopp to the employees he manages. I believe that this simple tool is an inspiration and I’d like to see producers take the time to define their job, their management style, and their principles. I think the business would be better too.

I’m starting mine. I’ll share it when it’s done!

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