Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Clever, The Hardworking, And ...

... those in other categories.

Why clever and lazy people make great leaders

Avoiding unproductive things has its advantages

"You're looking for three things, generally, in a person," says Warren Buffett. "Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don't have the last one, don't even bother with the first two."

Ideally you want all three, but people don't always cooperate. These qualities tend to be difficult to judge in hiring someone.

So we end up with all sorts of combinations and permutations in organizations.

A lot of people feel that stupid people are the "worst" problem. ... So what happens with smart, lazy people? ...

These people can be challenging to work with. They delegate and trust people to do their jobs. They don't micromanage; they question. They avoid unproductive things (think meetings, paper shuffling, busy work). They don't seek consensus because often that means more work, not less. They focus on a few key priorities. They don't run around with solutions looking for problems. ...

Think about the above.

In the cartoon biz, I've known a number of gifted people who did good work yet didn't want to grind away at scut work.

My friend Pete Young (from the Disney Feature Animation department of long ago), successfully pitched a number of projects to upper management, yet hated the grind of cranking out storyboards. He would often while away an afternoon doing gag drawings of co-workers and trading gossip, then blast out a sequence board* in two days at the end of the week. His drawings were minimalist; his story instincts, right on.

And consider Walter Elias Disney. He stopped hunching over an animation desk early on. Ub Iwerks did the animation. Walt looked at the BIG picture.

Then there's Seth MacFarlane. Love him or hate him, he's been stupendously successful, leaving a big imprint on comedy and animation. He gets to meeting when he gets to them, and always keeps moving. Details don't seem to slow him down.

Now think of a successful animation leader you know. Do they get tangled up in minutia? Do they waste time? Do they cut to the chase? It's not a matter of being right all the time. It's a matter of being right mostly. (Across the biz, there are a number of these folks. They're creative. They know a good idea when they encounter one. They avoid drudge work and lead.)

What industry people do you know that fit the above parameters?

* Sequence boards had fewer drawings in those simpler times. Nobody was ensnared by the mentality of animatics, and having a new drawing/pose up on screen every 1.3 seconds.

h/t, supervising animator Kevin Koch.


J. Alan (Jim) Chase said...

Steve; this is Jim Chase, Bob's youngest brother. I need to connect with you about my brother. Could you please email me back at Jim@wordchaser.com
Thank you very much!

Site Meter