Thursday, October 26, 2020
Why Not Let People Use Their Intelligence?
We encourage creativity,' said Zerbs, one of the youngest employees when the firm started in 1989 and now one of the company elders at the age of 42. 'It's a very fast moving industry, so you can not just manage it top down, you have to allow people to basically think about new ideas, present new ideas, feel comfortable discussing new ideas with peers.'It would be easy to start a cynical, sarcastic rant at this point, but I will resist. It is sufficient to say that companies who recruit smart people, then deny them the chance to use their intelligence for whatever reason, are purposely throwing away large amounts of shareholders' money, and should be treated appropriately. Sadly, that group seems to include the vast majority of major corporations today.
That's backed up by a recent survey the company carried out among a group of Toronto staff.
'The thing that is most appreciated is the opportunity to use their intellect, that's the thing that attracts them,' said Deborah Troister, vice-president of human resources. 'That's the most important thing to them. It is way above the salary, if you ask them to list priorities that is the one that successively comes out on top.'
Otherwise, Algorithmics' research and development staff, who make up about 60 per cent of the Toronto employees, 'are just regular people who happen to be really smart,' said Troister.
Succeeding in business is not easy. It takes brains as well as determination. Besides, clever, creative people don't relish being denied the opportunity to use what they have probably come to see as their greatest strength. If they walk out, who can blame them? And what will be left? An organization full of people who didn't leave, probably because intelligence is not their greatest strength. Which may well explain why many organizations behave as they do.
But my main hope is that more people will be willing to think and use all and every type of intelligence they have, instead of either blindly copying the past, or rushing into ill-considered action just to look busy.
And whatever we learned at school, surely nothing stops us from using our minds in a better way as adults—so long as we recognize what that is, and aren't beaten down by bosses looking for obedience rather than innovation.
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