Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People


Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People

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“Clevers”, Goffee and Jones’ new term for clever people who work in your organization, apparently require special care and handling by managers. And so the authors clearly define who is a Clever, and what managers could be doing to help Clevers stay and perform within an organization. Their definition is compelling: we aren’t just talking about creative types like musicians and artists. This is about “highly talented individuals with the potential to create disproportionate amounts of value from the resources that the organization makes available to them.” This is the sort of person you want to keep! And it may even be you! But what comes across is entitlement, protection and fawning. I am a believer in individualization—as a manager, you need to find out who is working for you and be able to manage each of them fairly and equitably, but differently. One size does not fit all. So if you have a Clever in your team, this book may help, but if you are a sensitive and thoughtful manager, you should be managing people like this anyway. If your organization is bleeding Clevers, this may be a band-aid, but I suspect the problems run much deeper and systemically, and reading one book won’t help much.

Article originally published in Your Workplace issue 11-6


Lisa Sansom

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