Aug 11, 2008

Wisdom and Knowledge

Have been reading Sutton and Pfeffer's Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense. One of the points that the authors make is that while Intelligence can be a predictor for future performance, the thing to really test is the wisdom of any manager.

Wisdom as they refer to it is the ability for a person of high intelligence to know that there are things for which one may not have answers or skill to do, and it's time to reach out to someone else and call for their expertise.

It might sound natural - but knowledge is the biggest enemy of wisdom. The more one knows one assumes one has  the answers to most questions. And wisdom moves a little farther away.

How do you systematically plan to build wisdom? I thought about it and came up with two:

  1. Develop a sceptical attitude to yourself - and towards most assumptions
  2. Have a few mentors who are never afraid to give you bad news