Intelligence and LO LO9741

Valdis E. Krebs (
Wed, 4 Sep 96 13:28:36 -0400

Debbie Broome wrote in LO9638...

> He was very bright--in fact he
>was at the top of his class. He also scored very highly on his MCATs.
>What stands out in particular about this individual was that he was a
>complete jerk. He treated my roommate (his girlfriend) horribly and
>rarely deigned to have any discussions with us mere mortals. I remember
>thinking, my god, I hope I never have to have someone like this for a
>doctor, if this is what the medical schools are turning out.
>My point is this (yes there is one). Highly intelligent people are not
>necessarily better team players or better at social interaction. Learning
>organizations depend on teamwork and communication skills.

Yes! How many of us have been back to a high school reunion and been
totally amazed at who is successful? Yes, the Valedictorian and his/her
court all probably have 'better than average' jobs/careers. But who is
running their own mult-million dollar firm? Who is a world-famous
researcher, doctor, musician, journalist, consultant, humanitarian? It's
usually those people who were not particularly 'noticeable' in high school
[they were neither cute, athletic, or very brainy].

And how many people still believe that if they 'get good grades' [i.e. do
a good job], then everything else will take care of itself? These are the
people that are shocked when they are RIFfed, passed over, or otherwise
ignored/excluded. IMHO, we all need to understand the power of
social/political forces in the environments/communities we participate in.
Raw brain power and good job performance are necessary, but by no means
sufficient for success.

>Is it possible that an organization learns faster when there
>is a good balance of intellectual and social strengths
>on the team versus simply highly intelligent people?

Yes, I think so. I recently worked with a company that initially wanted
to do a 'skills assessment' followed by a 'skills database' -- "we need to
know who has what skills so that we can get them when we need them". One
thing they did not take into account initially were the emergent
structures of learning and knowledge exchange in the
organization[knowledge exchange networks, communitie of practice, emergent
experts]. Like Debbie's example so amply illustrates, you can have world
class technical skills within an individual -- but are they avaialble to
the rest of the organization? Probably not, if the guy/gal is a jerk and
no one wants to work/interact with them. It is better to find the
emergent experts and communities of practice who are actually being
utilized by others in the firm -- these are the people with knowledge AND
social/political skills. For this reason, and others, my client dropped
the idea of a skills data base.

Valdis Krebs
Organizational Measurement, Analysis & Design
Cleveland, OH


"Valdis E. Krebs" <>

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