Katie Couric was supposed to set the world on fire in her new role as CBS News anchor. After all, as co-host of the Today show, she had been hugely popular for many years. Why wouldn't that translate to massive success as a newscaster? So CBS paid Katie a fortune to move, and the ratings for her first show were amazing.
But they've dropped off dramatically since then. Katie says they'll come back. She says it's just a matter of time because success doesn't happen overnight.
But I think she's wrong. I don't think she will never succeed in that slot because she's not playing to her strengths. I think CBS misunderstood her appeal and they're paying the price now.
On the Today show, Katie's breezy, engaging personality allowed the TV viewers to feel a connection with her. She bantered easily with guests and with her co-hosts. Even those, like me, who don't often watch morning TV felt like as if they knew her.
But reading the evening news stripped Katie of all the things she excels at. She can't be breezy and engaging when she's the lone presenter of serious news. She can't draw her audience in with a quip or a giggle. She can't tell a funny, self-deprecating story or two to lighten the mood. Instead, her new job plays to her weaknesses and has no use for her strengths, which leaves a talented lady looking very average.
It's a new take on the old Peter Principle, which says "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." And with the new year on the horizon, as many of us take stock of our careers and make decisions about our future, it's a valuable reminder that self-knowledge is key to good decision-making.
Or as Clint Eastwood once said: "A man's got to know his limitations."