“Intelligence is nice, but good judgment is better. Beware of smart managers who have limited vision.” – Bill Starling, CEO of Synecor and Managing Director of Synergy Life Science Partners
Bill has it right. Good judgment, like timing, is everything. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you don’t know what to do with those smarts, you won’t accomplish much for yourself or anyone else.
A recent article in the New York Times about young lawyers makes the case that many law schools have become too academically oriented; they don’t train their students to become practical lawyers who can actually do anything useful for clients.
Effective management also requires smart people who have acquired some base of knowledge and who have developed skill at applying that knowledge to real-world situations. Many large companies have formal management training programs specifically geared to bridging that transition from academic learning to practical application. They are apprenticeships by another name.
How can owner/CEOs of smaller companies bridge this training gap?
Many small/medium-sized companies simply hire experienced people from large companies. This is a time-honored way to gain experienced people.
In the current soft labor market, consider hiring the smartest people you can find and train them on-the-job. Look for energetic self-starters who are attracted to your particular type of business and give them early responsibility in bite-sized chunks.
Keep in mind that people tend to learn more from their mistakes than from their successes. Just don’t let them risk more than you can afford for them to lose.