In the 13 years I have been with corporates I have realized that unknowingly every corporate ends up making every talented individual incompetent in his/her role.

Here is my theory:

Corporate identify talented individuals & award them more responsibilities to raise their role within the organization till the individual reaches a stage where he/she is incompetent for the role that has been thrust on him/her.

To give a real example, let us say a software engineer joins an organization ‘A’ and more than exceeds in his role….his Development Manager will identify him and promote him to the role of a Sr Software Engineer within six months or one year. In the role of the Sr Software Engineer this individual is still capable of excelling. What if in the next six months or one year his Development Manager promotes him again and makes him a Team Lead?

In such a scenario, there are two things that can happen.

Scenario 1: The software engineer’s responsibilities overtake his abilities, and he can no longer excel in his role and ends up becoming a mediocre performer.

Scenario 2: The software engineer keeps up his learning at great speed (both hard & soft skills) and prolongs the inevitable by maintaining a difference between his ability & responsibility. In this new role he might not be able to excel & wow his Development Manager as he used to do earlier but still won’t become a mediocre performer.

Note that very few geniuses can prolong this theory of incompetency from affecting him/her till they retire. Sooner or later it has to catch up and nullify the difference between your abilities & responsibilities and make you an average performer.

Summation: If you have been promoted 3-4 times in the last 2-3 years, just do a re-think and evaluate how you have been performing recently. Chances are you are no longer wow-ing your senior.

Update: Thanks to Srinivas TK, an old Sify colleague just realized that two guys beat me to this theory by 3-4 decades. It is called Peters Principle. Read More here