Leading Clever People



I follow a blog called ‘Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog at Leadership Now’ which you can find at http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/


On September 14 they posted a great book review on the new book Clever.  I have included most of the review below for your easy reference. One of the reasons that I have shared it with you is because of the reference to the need for clarity in leadership. As you know, clarity is my first pillar in the C3 Principal of Clarity, Choice and Commitment.

The review :

Clever people, according to Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, are highly talented individuals with the potential to create disproportionate amounts of value from the resources that the organization makes available to them. Distinct from those individuals that thrive on their own, clevers need organizations to produce remarkable results. And organizations need them. They can be the competitive difference. In Clever the authors write, “Without clever people, leaders cannot hope to succeed. Without good leadership, clevers can never realize their full potential.”

Making the organization more valuable to the clevers requires a different approach from leaders. Leaders cannot be the ones that lead the charge up the mountain. “Rather they must identify the clever people with the potential to reach the summit, connect them with others, and help them get there.

In fact, successful leaders of clevers they interviewed don’t even think of themselves as leaders. Instead they refer to their roles as a compass (“to give that compass, that direction”), as a magnet (“you have to be a magnetic field. You never touch anything.”), as a bridge (bridging the technical side and the management side), or as a plug (“connecting clever people to the rest of he business … many clever people have a blind spot here born of their own conviction that their way is definitely the right way.”).

The paradox is that while they don’t want to be lead, they need leadership in order to achieve their potential and create value for society.

Clever helps you to identify who the clevers are and in a very practical manner, what a clever organization should look like. Nestlé demonstrates the importance of clarity in the clever organization—”clear about your priorities and efficient in delivering objectives.” While they are keenly aware of those aspects of the business they should never change they have been able to change and continually innovate. That means avoiding the tendency to process people, an over-reliance on systemization, an addiction to efficiency, and the division of labor and the alienation of the workforce. These tendencies are an anathema to clevers.

The authors list several do and don’ts for leading clevers which you can check out at:

Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog at Leadership Now



Have you read Clever? If so, please drop a comment and let me know what you think!

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