Leveraging OPE (other people’s energy) for fame and fortune: The incompetency bubble.
Some people live in an incompetency bubble.
It’s a weird quantum field that completely inhibits their ability to get anything done.
I don’t know if you’ve met anyone like this. It’s a strange thing.
I used to have a woman working for me, Teri, who was just amazingly incompetent.
But the weird thing was, she had the skills. She had the capacity. She interviewed well and looked great on paper.
And yet, when stuff entered her psychic field, it didn’t get done.
And it was really hard to hate her. She was actually really genuine and lovely. She actually really wanted to help get stuff done.
The incompetency bubble just prevented it.
“Hi Jon, I can’t come in to work today. I’ve been locked inside my house by my cat.”
“Hi Jon, I’m really sorry but I got on the wrong bus this morning, and now there’s some strange men yelling at me in a language I don’t understand.”
“Hi Jon, I’m really sorry but I think I have to go home now. I got concussion playing Frisbee on the weekend and the doctor said I should lie down if I start seeing stars again.”
She wasn’t making excuses. (You should of seen the bruise on her head). I genuinely felt sorry for her each time one of these things happened.
But they just kept happening. For weeks on end.
And I’m there waiting for my star recruit to land and start kicking goals, but it just didn’t happen.
And the longer she stayed, the more people she pulled into the bubble. It took three staff over an hour to get her out of the stationary cupboard.
So what could I do? I had to let her go. I had to recognise the reality of the situation. Through no fault of her own, through no ill-will, she was just incompetent. She lived in an incompetency bubble.
As I work with people, I’ve come to recognise this more and more.
There are achievers. There are people who get stuff done, and punch way above their weight. Stuff just seems to happen for them. The right tools land in their laps at the right times… they always seem to deliver.
Not that they recognise it. They just think they’re doing their job, and of course doing the job involves getting the job done. Duh.
And then there’s people who live in an incompetency bubble.
But as a leader, there is nothing you can do about it. I could have taken Teri on and tried to coach her into the habits of success and achievement, but 1. That’s a huge investment with no guarantee of success. And 2. The role just wasn’t worth it.
Better to cut my loses and try and land an achiever next time.
If only there was some kind of branding that lets you know which is which… like, you know, a massive bruise on the forehead?