We have a saying here in the States, “The cream always rises to the top”. It’s an old saying. It’s not much in use these days but it still gets trotted out every now and then as a truism. I don’t know if it originated with our dairy farmers or was imported (like most everything else) but I’ve always had trouble with it. I’ve watched as milk or cheese is being processed. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that rises to the top along with the cream that needs to be thrown away.
The underlying thrust of the saying, that the best can and will eventually be found at the top, is the mantra of many CEOs and of every ambitious subordinate.
No matter the institution, organization or industry, the presumption of the people outside those institutions, organizations or industries is: Whomever is at the top, must know what they’re doing.
I would really like to believe that.
It would make for a more orderly world view.
Here’s what is far more true than not: The people at the top are the people who were willing to do whatever was necessary to get them there. The people at the top know how to climb and how to cling once they get there.
That’s not an indictment. That’s the reality.
This means that the notion that there’s a natural order of ascension for the most qualified is false. For the people of genuine competency, integrity and overall wellness, our systems are stacked against them. These individuals were either stunted or sidetracked along their way or they were never interested in advancement to begin with, only in doing their job well.
They’re not angry or bitter. Those aren’t the characteristics of the well grounded, quality person to begin with. They’re simply the people who actually get things done and hold things together.
I want to draw your attention to these people, (we all know who they are and you may be one of them) because they never draw attention to themselves.
We would do well to take a moment and acknowledge them in some, small genuine way. A few words…an anonymous card or note on their desk or windshield…a moment of sincere noticing…
Yes, they’ll likely react by being embarrassed or confused. But it will make a difference.
To both of you.