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Performance Wisdom Meets Deep Smarts

In my previous post I reported on research indicating that neither age nor experience correlate with performance wisdom. No connection whatsoever. In Ursula Staudinger’s research on wisdom-related performance and review of related studies she emphasizes another shocker: neither fluid intelligence (inherent intelligence) nor crystallized intelligence (developed intelligence) has a significant relationship to wisdom-related performance either.Staudinger defines wisdom as expert-level knowledge and judgment in the fundamental pragmatics of life (including business). Her elaboration of age and experience is especially pointed for assessing business people and professionals: experience and age are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for business wisdom. All experiences are not created equal. Random or reactive experiences fail to provide the business wisdom needed for the complex decision making in today’s economy. And so the gap between those with true business wisdom and those with mere competence is huge.The ability to withhold judgment, recognize patterns and reflect about options is crucial for the development of wisdom-related business performance.Deep smarts …
and business wisdomTo keep experience and learning from being merely random or reactive, it’s important to focus on the criteria for wisdom-related performance. The following model of six criteria for wisdom-related performance is adapted from the work of Paul Baltes and colleagues, Leonard and Swap and my own critical research. In addition, I have added questions for assessing focused development on the six criteria. The questions serve to help operationalize the criteria:
–Factual knowledge. Developing and using macro and micro-knowledge of business issues, including broad scope and depth as well as tacit patterning.               Give me an example where a problem is unclear and needing resolution. Walk me through your usual resolution processes.               When you have three or four excellent options for resolving a problem, how do you make your choice?–Process knowledge. Creating and using strategic processes that impact the goals and objectives of the business.               You’ve experienced significant frustration with processes or procedures that were grandfathered into the firm. What successes or failures have you had with those experiences and why?                 When you’re uncomfortable asking a question or think you shouldn’t, how do you deal with such issues and why?–Business context. Using and relating past, present and future contexts of business, strategies and projects.               How do you align projects with current strategy and what kinds of political issues do you typically face for such alignments?              If you were a senior strategist for your discipline or the organization, how would you assess the current strategies and what changes might you make?–Value relativism. Managing and using conflicting personal, collegial and organizational values and goals.               How do you work with a colleague whose personal values cause friction in the relationship?               When organizational values differ from your own, how do you work within them? And how do you evaluate your decision to do so?–Unpredictability. Managing uncertainty through flexibility and mindful practices and the early discovery and correction of error.               –How do you organize for managing unexpected personal or organizational events?               –How do you manage the stress when you face nearly overwhelming personal or organizational problems?–Conversational toolkit. Managing communication and influence for the purpose of setting big and small things in motion.               –How do you create the conversational space for many people across many different domains to participate?               –How do you draw out the potential within all of us so that we can set very big things in motion?Inside most companies are people whose expertise and wisdom are vital to a firm’s survival. They can quickly size up complex situations, recognize patterns and opportunities, and conversationally connect others to make small moves that can set very big things in motion.Although wisdom performers are exceptional, research has found that the key criteria for these performers can be initiated as early as adolescence. Understanding how to develop wisdom can be a key success factor for corporate America.Flickr photo  
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Deep smarts
In my previous post I reported on research indicating that neither age nor experience correlate with performance wisdom. No connection whatsoever. In Ursula Staudinger’s research on wisdom-related performance and review of related studies she emphasizes another shocker: neither fluid intelligence (inherent intelligence) nor crystallized intelligence (developed intelligence) has a significant relationship to wisdom-related performance either.

Staudinger defines wisdom as expert-level knowledge and judgment in the fundamental pragmatics of life (including business). Her elaboration of age and experience is especially pointed for assessing business people and professionals: experience and age are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for business wisdom. All experiences are not created equal. Random or reactive experiences fail to provide the business wisdom needed for the complex decision making in today’s economy. And so the gap between those with true business wisdom and those with mere competence is huge.

The ability to withhold judgment, recognize patterns and reflect about options is crucial for the development of wisdom-related business performance.

Deep smarts and business wisdom
To keep experience and learning from being merely random or reactive, it’s important to focus on the criteria for wisdom-related performance. The following model of six criteria for wisdom-related performance is adapted from the work of Paul Baltes and colleagues, Leonard and Swap and my own critical research. In addition, I have added questions for assessing focused development on the six criteria. The questions serve to help operationalize the criteria:

–Factual knowledge. Developing and using macro and micro-knowledge of business issues, including broad scope and depth as well as tacit patterning.

               Give me an example where a problem is unclear and needing resolution. Walk me through your usual resolution processes.
               When you have three or four excellent options for resolving a problem, how do you make your choice?

–Process knowledge. Creating and using strategic processes that impact the goals and objectives of the business.
               You’ve experienced significant frustration with processes or procedures that were grandfathered into the firm. What successes or failures have you had with those experiences and why?  
               When you’re uncomfortable asking a question or think you shouldn’t, how do you deal with such issues and why?

–Business context. Using and relating past, present and future contexts of business, strategies and projects.
               How do you align projects with current strategy and what kinds of political issues do you typically face for such alignments?
              If you were a senior strategist for your discipline or the organization, how would you assess the current strategies and what changes might you make?

–Value relativism. Managing and using conflicting personal, collegial and organizational values and goals.
               How do you work with a colleague whose personal values cause friction in the relationship?
               When organizational values differ from your own, how do you work within them? And how do you evaluate your decision to do so?

–Unpredictability. Managing uncertainty through flexibility and mindful practices and the early discovery and correction of error.
               –How do you organize for managing unexpected personal or organizational events?
               –How do you manage the stress when you face nearly overwhelming personal or organizational problems?

–Conversational toolkit. Managing communication and influence for the purpose of setting big and small things in motion.
               —How do you create the conversational space for many people across many different domains to participate?
               –How do you draw out the potential within all of us so that we can set very big things in motion?

Inside most companies are people whose expertise and wisdom are vital to a firm’s survival. They can quickly size up complex situations, recognize patterns and opportunities, and conversationally connect others to make small moves that can set very big things in motion.

Although wisdom performers are exceptional, research has found that the key criteria for these performers can be initiated as early as adolescence. Understanding how to develop wisdom can be a key success factor for corporate America.

Flickr photo  

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