Thursday, February 17, 2011

If you are stupid, you better be lazy!

Erich von Manstein was a field marshal in World War II, one of the most prominent commanders of German army.

He is said to have categorized his officers into four types -
"There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard-working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard-working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office."

Lazy and Stupid
As per Von Manstein, the first category comprises the lazy, stupid ones. He suggests that they be left alone as they do no harm. Maybe one reason for this is that lazy and stupid people rarely do much active harm. The harm they do is more often based on missing opportunities and stifling the creativity of those who report to them. Sometimes they are the unavoidable “baggage” you have to carry along.

Hard Working and Intelligent
The second category comprises the hard-working, intelligent individuals. These are excellent staff officers who ensure every detail is accurate. The hardworking and intelligent lot make competent administrators and line managers who can take orders from above and deliver the desired results.
Hard Working and Stupid
In the third category are the hard-working, stupid ones. These, hardworking “idiots”, according to Von Manstein, are a nuisance and menace and must be fired at once because they only create irrelevant work for everybody and force everyone around them to perform pointless tasks and are a pain in the neck for everyone around them.
Lazy and Intelligent
And finally there are the lazy, intelligent ones. These select few are suited for the highest office. Laziness stimulates creativity because lazy people are always looking for easier, simpler, and less laborious ways to do things, so they try and innovate. And if a lazy person is also intelligent he or she will certainly be a fantastic and ingenious innovator. Lazy people are also natural delegators so they find it very attractive to let their subordinates get on with their work without interference from above. Lazy, intelligent employees make natural leaders as they focus on the essentials and ignore anything that might make for unnecessary work, whether for themselves or other people. It is the lazy intelligent top managers who indeed make great strategists and leaders.
I posted this because I highly relate to General Manstein's idea's and some of the most Brilliant/Creative people I have met at college and in general, life, are ridiculously Lazy people. It is a pity though, that conventional parameters fails to identify the best minds of the lot!