Talent and smarts doesn’t make you effective

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Feb 13

There are companies out there, big companies, who brag themselves silly about how they only hire the “best and the brightest” on the planet. That their people are so smart compared with everyone else that undoubtedly their company will rule the world. “We only hire the best talent” and all that claptrap.

Yet, when our Cubicle Warrior gets into the conference room with the “best and the brightest,” we find that those incredibly smart people can’t deliver a task if the world depended on them. Worse, the “best and brightest” have it in their heads that their way is the only way and will obstruct the work of management and the team until they get their way. Or the highway.

They are so smart, you see. And management has told them they are the “best and the brightest” and they think they can walk on water. They don’t let people do their jobs, nor do they recognize the strengths of others. They take consensus on how to proceed with the work and submarine and obstruct the effort behind people’s backs.

Now, I love working with smart people. But I’m into working with smart people who deliver work, not obstruct the work done. I’ll take a smart person who focuses on delivering for the customer over the smartest person on the planet who questions every suggestion about doing the work. And I’ll take an average person who consistently delivers work over the best and brightest person on the planet who can’t find their way out of a conference room without criticizing everything in their path.

Talent and smarts only get you so far. After that, you need to learn how to effectively deliver the work to your team. Otherwise, you are not talented and smart; you merely get in the way.

How is your team? The best and brightest but can’t deliver their work? Or focused on the customer to complete their work?

  • Scot says:

    @Bill — I’d agree with you on this one. Smaller companies have the ability to better balance talent and skills so they compliment each other. Big companies tend to blend people where they are not effective as they shuffle organizations and teams with their organizational charts. Good point and thanks for making it.

  • Interesting idea.

    But I suspect it applies to corporations rather than smaller operations. In smaller businesses, brainy types who don’t co-operate and deliver are quickly weeded out by necessity. No-one cares about or respects intellectual firepower that fires blanks and everyone gets upclose and personal enough to see what’s going on.

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