Cloning Erich von Manstein’s Hardworking Idiots


The German World War II general Erich von Manstein is said to have categorized his officers into four types. The first type, he said, is lazy and stupid. His advice was to leave them alone because they don’t do any harm. The second type is hard-working and clever. He said that they make great officers because they ensure everything runs smoothly. The third group is composed of hardworking idiots. Von Manstein claims that you must immediately get rid of these, as they force everyone around them to perform pointless tasks. The fourth category are officers who are lazy and clever. These, he says, should be your generals….

This is a very interesting article! It is true that people who spend less time doing work, can spend more time thinking and analyzing. And people who think and analyze a lot, whom make the correct decisions (signs of smart people) should be “the general”.

What is also true is, people who spend most their time occupied with work (workaholic), tend not to have too much time to think. But in contrast to General Erich, I will not want to get rid of this group of people. In fact, I would want to keep this group of people who work hard and do not question (and I believe today’s education system is “manufacturing” a big chunk of this group of people). However, to make this work, I need to make sure I do not have this group of people at supervisory or managerial level, and I must have a smart guy leading this group of worker.

So, where do you stand on the matrix structure? I do believe that many jobs and circumstances today are pushing us towards the top left quadrant. Maybe there are just not enough jobs for the people from the bottom right corner? or even the top right corner? And I realized that many huge organizations operates in the manner below:

The torrents of e-mails, most of which are simply copies of documents of no direct relevance to the people to whom they are sent. The constant collecting of data for no clear reason. Management by numbers and motivation by numerically-based performance measures. Trust replaced by obsessive control and leadership by forced ranking of subordinates against vague criteria determined by committees with no idea of the specific circumstances…..

Anyway, do not let organizations and companies deny your own intelligence on a daily basis! Take Charge! Start thinking and analyzing for yourself and your love ones! And of course,

Easier Said (& Blogged), than Done!


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