Boards and "bosses of bosses" are frightened about hiring the best people. They pick the best, “safe” choice. They often default to “taking no chances” giving the company little chance to truly excel.
What happens is that you end up working for a “do-nothing.” And that does nothing for you.
When boards or executives are faced with hiring, a typical pool of candidates includes primarily (but not exclusively) two groups:
1.Up and comers, new stars who haven't run an organization, or
2.Experienced people who have run companies but performed at a mediocre level
So, who do they hire? Do most in charge of hiring want to make something happen, or make sure nothing bad happens? The answer is usually the latter. So, hiring becomes a game of playing it safe.
The risk of hiring the up and comer is that these candidates might be in over their head. The risk of hiring the experienced person is that, having been visibly mediocre in a former job; the person might demonstrate the same mediocrity in the new job.
So, in most cases, mediocrity wins. Why take a chance with an unproven "up and comer" who might cost extra money. The new hire must be trained and there can be a long incubation period absorbing the company’s culture.
Plus, it is a huge risk. Among untested candidates there will inevitably be many people who are worse than mediocre. The company risks wasting time and money.
In addition, if the company hires a great new, hidden talent, he or she can be lured away with a better offer. Then, they invested in new talent and did not get the "pay out."
Gambling for the company isn’t worth the gamble even if an untested person turns out to be stellar.
Boards keep the mediocre CEO on board with often unwarranted pay raises, despite mediocre company and stock performance. End result: Higher Paid CEOs Do A Worse Job.
And, in the end, you are working for a mediocre performer – whether he or she is your CEO or immediate boss. Chances are, your non-CEO boss is overpaid too. His or her goal and edict: “make sure nothing bad happens.” In fact, make sure nothing happens. In the meantime, for you nothing is happening.
You can either wait it out, or get out. Now if you try to get out, and you really have talent, the chance of a company taking a gamble on you, as you can see, is actually slim.
Those who are brave, and can’t take it anymore, become entrepreneurs.