Bob Davids’ 30 Top Tips To Stop Being A “Smart Boss”

By Isaac Getz

May 6, 2012

We need smart people. Our universities are focused on producing just that. Those who come out on top are the smartest and hence succeed in business, law and politics.

It would be easier to agree with the above view if psychologists hadn’t already been challenging it for several decades. They found that analytical intelligence – the one taught in schools allowing you to find the right answer for a well-defined problem – doesn’t predict success in professional life. Success – measured, say, by your career or salary, while adjusting for age – correlates with intelligence at a mere 0.2.

Needless to say, smart people are not idiots, but they can be fools. “School smarts” regularly do silly things, like the très smart French politician and former IMF president or a bright former U.S. president, who was fond of saxophones, but not exclusively… But what about business leaders?

Sure, most are very intelligent. Yet, when we looked through our 5-year, 30- company study on what made businesses stay at the top of their industries for decades, it wasn’t their leaders’ superior intelligence. Paradoxically, it actually appeared to be a handicap. This wasn’t exactly news either. Tom Peters had already talked of “analysis-paralysis.” So how did these leaders stop being smart bosses and, in the process, make their companies sustainable wealth creators?

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