I’ve seen the don’ts too many times in IT: the orgs that follow that model typically are of low morale and low in attainment of new skills. A group of high functioning “clevers” will motivate each other.
Characteristics of Clever People
- Their cleverness is central to their identity. What they do is not some last-minute career choice, it is who they are. They are defined by their passion, not by their organization.
- Their skills are not easily replicated. If they were, clevers would not be the scarce resource they are. Once upon a time, competitive advantage came because your product was slightly better or produced more cheaply; now it often comes through the collective efforts of the clever people in your organization.
- They know their worth. The tacit skills of clever people are closer to the craft skills of the medieval period than they are to the codifiable and communicable skills that characterized the Industrial Revolution. This means you can’t transfer the knowledge without the people, and clever people know the value of this.
- They ask difficult questions. Knowing your worth means that you are more willing to challenge and question. In particular, clevers instinctively challenge what came before them.
- They are not impressed by corporate hierarchy. Clever people claim that they do not want to be led; and they are absolutely certain that they don’t want to be managed. They are also likely more concerned with what their professional peers think of them than their boss.
- They expect instant access. As a leader, if you’re not there when the clevers come calling, don’t expect them to wait patiently in line; clever people have a very low boredom level.
- They want to be connected to other clever people. Clever people cannot function in an intellectual vacuum. Typically, they possess only part of a clever solution – an important part, but one that requires the input of other clevers to come to life.
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