clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy
April 17, 2014, 9:00 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , ,

Do you ever wonder why you end up in certain roles doing certain tasks in your life at the office? Here’s a strategy the most notorious army in history used to assign roles to their staff. Each person was seen as having two broad personal characteristics, one based on brain power – clever or stupid – and the other on performance – diligent or lazy. Based on your two perceived qualities you were slotted into your role.

That was an army 80 years ago, but I have no doubt that this strategy has – partially or wholesale – ended up in today’s human resource policies in corporations across the globe. Good news if you are clever and lazy – you’ll ascend to the highest ranks.

Frankly though, in my experience, managers are more often clever and diligent or stupid and diligent. We live in the age of the technical and detail obsessed.

Here is a chart:

clever and diligent
stupid and lazy
clever and lazy
stupid and diligent

general staff
routine duties
highest leadership duties
no responsibility, will cause mischief

Here is the description of how German army top brass divided their men:

I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 per cent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.

Erich von Manstein top strategists in WWII German Military, or
Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, former Commander-in-Chief of the Reichswehr

From Why Clever And Lazy People Make The Best Leaders, Farnam Street


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