Somehow the smartest guy in the room always seems to be setting the goals and projections. Unfortunately, in many cases he is the only one who realizes he is that guy. Everyone else however, knows he thinks that he is, because he will never get tired of telling them.
When the guy setting the goals and expectations really is the smartest guy in the room he usually doesn’t remind everyone, he lets them find out over time. I can think of 2 smartest guys off the top of my head, both of them in telecom.
The first one was a national manager for corporate sales for a large wireless carrier. Why he sure had a successful sales career that he made sure we heard about. It hadn’t lasted too long, but he was absolutely proud of it and it landed him a management position in the current company. He followed a path that led him to the position he had when he told of his sales exploits. He got moved into a non-position once his true talents were discovered. Still works for the company, it’s just that no one actually knows what he does.
The second was even better, he made sure that along with letting everyone know how hard he had worked in sales that he was the 3rd employee in the company, that he was the 3rd employee of the company, did I tell you he was employee number 3. Success was assured as long as your dedication to the job was as important as air to a drowning man (I swear I didn’t make that up). He’s still employee number 3 and the company itself is sinking under the unrealized expectations of the smartest guy.
The real smartest guys, don’t have to explain how good they were, but how good their employees can be. The best will find themselves and the rest will be slotted somewhere below them. The real smartest guys will find a way to help the guys slotted below the best guys be successful and be productive enough for the company to be profitable. Not only will the company be profitable, but that will make it a great place to work.
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