For as long as I can remember, I’ve been one of those guys who others think to be smart. I say this with not a hint of pride; it actually makes me uncomfortable, and I realize that my so-called “intelligence” is about the way I communicate more than very much I say being earth-shatteringly brilliant.
It’s my fall-back position, and it works. I generally “get my way” in situations that confound most people, but to get to that point I often need to pull out some tricks that can cast me in an unfavorable light. I never do anything dirty or unfair; I simply make sure I know the rules better and am willing to use them. In other words, I act kind of like a machine.
One of the best-known, most highly admired (and simultaneously reviled) human-machines of the last few decades has an idea that could revolutionize business process. It’s a business change—or at least a change in the way we do business—that can’t be “explained”. It’s illogical. It doesn’t “add up” or “make sense”.
Garry Kasparov, a chess grandmaster of legendary proportions, has weighed in with some thoughts on the way the human mind works, and put them together in this review of the book Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind by Diego Rasskin-Gutman. Kasparov argues that there comes a point where being/having the strongest and fastest computer stops being an advantage, and actually starts hurting your ability to make the right decisions.
Remember who we’re talking about. Garry Kasparov not only has an IQ so high that the rest of us can’t come close to relating, but has used it in a machine-like way to great effect, beating all human and most computer challengers at the thing he’s best at for . . . well, a very long time. Kasparov’s ego is of legendary proportion, and he’s now advocating business process that includes dropping some of the intelligence and just trusting your gut.
Apply this to your business change. The next time you’re on a sales call, assume that the thing you’re selling to a prospective new customer really is the best. Assume your target knows this every bit as well as you do. AND STOP RIGHT THERE.
Although it’s important, being the best isn’t always what matters the most. I’m not for a moment saying you should be OK with being anything less, by the way. But when it comes time to put your position as “the best” into practice, the people you enage in that practice with care less about how great you are and more about how great you are for them.
Feel a little more. Think a little less. Take Garry Kasparov’s advice, and trust yourself. It’s how you’ll get to where others can trust you in return.