Headline of the Month

“High Intelligence Can Hurt A Person’s Ability To Lead”—Wall Street Journal (0619.07)

The underlying discussion comes from the wonderful (I’m a regular reader) Blog of U.S. judge Richard Posner and Nobel Laureate Gary Becker. Among other things, Posner writes, the super-smart don’t know “when to defer to the superior knowledge of more experienced but less mentally agile subordinates.” I’m well disposed to this as I have observed it time and again—especially in my McKinsey days.

Here are a couple of related quotes from my Master slide deck:

“Intelligent people can always come up with intelligent reasons to do nothing.”—Scott Simon

“Andrew Higgins, who built landing craft in WWII, refused to hire graduates of engineering schools. He believed that they only teach you what you can’t do in engineering school. He started off with 20 employees, and by the middle of the war had 30,000 working for him. He turned out 20,000 landing craft. D.D. Eisenhower told me, ‘Andrew Higgins won the war for us. He did it without engineers.'”—Historian Stephen Ambrose/Fast Company

Tom Peters posted this on June 25, 2007, in Leadership.
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