Intelligence and LO -nope, dumbness and LO LO9669

John Paul Fullerton (
Sun, 1 Sep 1996 12:36:16 +0000

Replying to LO9621 --

Ben said

> I read your message with interest. You said that IQ had no place in
> an LO. And, I'd agree if the LO was not a competitive business.

There's something to consider about the limits of systems
thinking-in-use. Is the "system" one's own company or a favored
group, or is it the whole world? My comment is not pointed at Ben;
rather, based on some other thoughts, such as how benevolent will
systems thinking really prove to be? It "inquires" into the values
and abilities within its area of concern, but what would cause it to
continue to do so in areas that are not intrinsic to its business
operations? It seems like values of some kind would direct
consideration for others when there is no benefit to self. I
understand that consideration of this kind could be explained as
higher level systems thinking, while still being the same kind of
thinking that reviews a business process.

> Right now I work for Novell and we're in tough competition with
> Microsoft. One of the major reasons why Microsoft is so competitive
> is because they hire extremely intelligent people. Bill Gate's sums
> it up this way, "we hire the smartest people, and then let them do
> their thing."

Bill Gates is quoted as saying something like that in "Microsoft
Secrets", and the idea caught my attention also. I am not sure that
all of their people are "the smartest people" or that they would
accept a "smart person" who did not have "business sense" or drive.
(They don't want unprofitable explorers on the team, from what I've
seen.) Apart from that question, they do indeed have mentally active
people on their team. One example for me having received technical
information from one of their employees that seemed 10 times more
useful than anything else I had been able to find about a topic
(OLE), expressed with direct certainty and evaluation of options.

> The result is we're getting crushed by Microsoft.

Novell is not the only one. Imagine having a main part of your
business in development of a WWW browser and then having another
company offer the same kind of application for free. (That refers to
Microsoft distributing a free browser, versus Navigator being
Netscape's main-selling product.) An added comment here - it is not
commonly accepted that Microsoft has caught up with Navigator yet.

> In business, I think intelligence, as measured by an IQ test, is
> absolutely critical. . .especially in a knowledge-based business
> such as the computer industry.

Intelligence of some kind may be important. It may be important in
"some of the people, some of the time". It may be sufficient if You
just have one person and make use of their unique talents. If
programs and services were designed and distributed so that one's
employees knew what was going on, then customers would be more likely
to also be met on the same level. (Do You know why this application
has a "File" menu? Oh yes, that's the industry standard and we
thought it was better to continue with people's existing
understanding than requiring new learning of the basics for this
particular application.) (Do You know why my .dll does not work with
Excel if I paste a bitmap into a cell? Could You wait a second while
I do a keyword search on the answers database?) Microsoft does not
have their smartest people answering the phone, I'm pretty sure of
that. Callers may be glad :) (Drop in the debug kernel, reboot with
the enhanced memory and debug switches set. Use Norton to check the
drivers in the upper memory. Thank You for calling.) That's imagined

> I'll drop the topic on the list, because I respect your feelings,
> but I have no choice but to believe that the intelligence of the
> people within an organization will largely determine how quickly the
> organization _can_ learn.

Yes - however, if some of the practices for business improvement are
used, they can bring noticeable benefits without dependence on
"built-in" outstanding intelligence of every worker. Dr. Deming
talked about "operational definitions" (do people know what the job
is, do they know what the definition of a good job is), measuring
processes with statistics without blaming people, and continually
improvement with management leading with continual awareness,
listening and learning. The full version of "The Deming Library" (16
videotapes) from MIT has numerous helpful comments and brings
improvement out of the realm of $2000/day seminars for management to
"he that hath an ear, let him hear" :) He was also, at 80+ years of
age, probably remembering more than learning about these topics for
the first time. It's also worth considering that "just anyone" would
not have the training for doing the statistics. I don't.

I heard him say (on videotape) "knowledge knows no boundaries".

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton


"John Paul Fullerton" <>

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