How 10 Smart Can Equal 1 Dumb
It’s a scene I’ve witnessed countless times: Smart people coming together to discuss and debate…and make a dumb decision.
How can 10 smart people do that? How can 10 smart = 1 dumb? Well, the default is “dumb.” It takes drive and energy and commitment and wrestling and fighting to get to “smart.” Having 10 geniuses in the room won’t help much if they’re not connected in a meaningful way to vision, mission and strategy. Or if they don’t know how to avoid “lowest common denominator” thinking, a risky endgame that dresses up to look safe. Or if they’re protecting themselves, their team, their function, or their boss (from disagreement).
But there’s worse. If they’re moving in different or even conflicting directions, the fact that they’re geniuses is a huge minus. They will use their smarts to create advantage for themselves, or to demolish those who disagree, or to lay plans to reduce the decision to an even dumber level. Smart unconnected to good has a lot more potential for organizational harm than dumb unconnected to good.
There are ways to turn a team full of even average people into a collective wonder. Building a team full of smart people into what we call A Thinking Organization can blow the lid off any box your organization may be inhabiting. You can create a culture rich in Thinking DNA. But first, you’ve got to get past the notion that smart people = smart decisions. It’s true now, and has always been true, that only smart culture = smart decisions.
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