The lie of the career factor intelligence: success from stupidity?

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It is often said that good ideas and a smart strategy are part of success - something that requires a certain amount of intelligence. But maybe all nonsense, because often just have the stupid success - because they live by the motto: "Three-is-cool". The lie of the career factor intelligence: Success out of stupidity? The lie of the career factor intelligence: Success out of stupidity?

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Here writes for you: Simone Janson is a publisher, German Top20 blogger and HR communication consultant. Profile

Too much intelligence just hurts


Actually, the thesis comes from a good friend, with whom I spoke some time ago about a few old acquaintances - highly intelligent, but was the issue of career is clearly on the wrong track. The reason, so my friend: Intelligent people are more self-critical - and self-criticism is the success in the way!

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A tip is therefore: Be as vehemment as possible - whether you're wrong or not. Because the more specific you appear, the more people believe it. I'm afraid there is more to it than you might think at first glance. But: to bring something vehemment over, what is wrong - I think only people who do not question themselves. And think about your own mistakes and claim something to stand out: That can stupider people actually better!

Intelligent people are more critical


Often, intelligent people also disrupt the processes in Company: They are not only very critical with themselves, but with others, questioning work processes, can not adapt well, putting their finger on wounds. As a result, they make the bosses nervous, they could even cheer up the colleagues. So fire better right now!

Or is seditious behavior again just a sign of stupidity - like Corinne Maier in The discovery of laziness attested, because one makes it better beautifully comfortable? Yesterday I read once again in a career counselor that just women would do well to adapt themselves to the rules of the game and always bravely glue the boss. Good people, who keep the good faith, rather than say their opinion: Unfortunately much too often usual and mE innovation killer Nr1.

If you do not work, you have more time to think


With this thesis, I was recently confronted with an event. And she even agrees: If you munch out in your job day by day, you simply do not have to do your own actions.

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Sometimes that might be just fine - but sometimes (self) criticism would not hurt. In The Art, Less To Do, the authors also describe how work has historically been used as a manipulation factor - very interesting. The mistake in the thesis: Not all Hartz IV recipients are intellectual lights.

Smart people see through the games ...


... and just do not feel like it. Maybe not all. But some people become more of an existentialist. Because why should one turn all day in the hamster wheel, if there is another way?

At this point, one hears now the frustration argument "These are people who did not make it!". Counter question: What does "do it?" Mean? - because everyone has to make a compromise - right?

This is what science says: German personnel are not very interested in intelligence


This thesis has also recently been underpinned by a psychological study: According to this, German staff are not very interested in the intelligence of their employees. In the United States, however, intelligence tests as a setting criterion have long been recognized practice.

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244 studies from Germany were evaluated according to the latest methods - and the Bonn psychologist Jochen Kramer has it in a so-called meta-analysis: General intelligence is, however, an important prerequisite for a high work performance and professional success.

4 Areas of professional success were examined


That means: It does not look so bad in the German personnel departments. Because the study has also examined very specific data on the influence of intelligence on four areas of professional success. These are:

  1. Work performance,
  2. professional learning,
  3. Income
  4. and professional career.

Thus, if an employee is selected with their intelligence in mind, he is likely to achieve a high work and learning performance with a probability of well over 80 percent - compared to 50 percent at random. According to Kramer's investigation, intelligence makes it successful!

Intelligence: Career opportunities are at 70%


The chances of the selected applicants, to make career and to achieve a high income, lie under consideration of the intelligence with scarcely 70 per cent. "For differently complex professions fluctuations are to be expected with these values", Kramer relativizes, emphasizes however the fundamental connection: "the smarter an employee is, the sooner he delivers good work and is professionally successful."

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Intelligence, the mental abilities of a human being, was as broad as possible in the analysis. "Only studies that included at least two of the three areas of mental abilities - numbers and arithmetic, language skills, and spatial imagination - were included in my study," explains Kramer.

General Intelligent more important than mental skills


Basic assumption is namely: In the professional life general intelligence is important instead of only specific mental abilities. Since general intelligence is not the only decisive factor, the Bonn scientists are now interested in how much of the share of success, for example, have emotional intelligence or social skills.

However, the question remains whether the formula higher intelligence = more success actually always applies or has its limits. Why, for example, are so many above-average intelligent people relatively unsuccessful?

The creative has ideas, the stupid she steals it and becomes successful


An example that often occurs in history: the first mover is not always the more successful one. Because most people only have to get used to new ideas, good ideas are usually often suspiciously eyed and smiled.

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Some good idea is still not quite mature! Bad luck for the first mover, if the second mover simply takes the idea, improves - and thus becomes successful. The creatively successful has the look, the stupid the success!

I now put this consciously as a theses in the room - and look forward to an animated discussion!

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  1. Harriet Lemcke


    Again and again I watch (sometimes fascinated, sometimes shocked, sometimes angry) that stupid people bring it amazingly far and put on an almost provocative-defiant complacency in the day. A few months ago I had a conversation for a business deal - my counterpart was looking for communication specialists for joint consulting projects for medium-sized customers. It quickly turned out that my counterpart was blessed with utter ignorance when it came to communication in general and in particular. When asked about that, he said with a shrug, "And if I have only 3 percent idea about the topic, then I still know 3 percent more than the entrepreneur, whom I sell dearly." And in the same context, I experienced a real specialist who constantly questioned everything, wanted to deliver the best possible results, but is unable to place their services on the market at the right conditions.

    Transferred to salaried employment, I can also confirm that there are people who have tremendous expertise and the ambition to advance the business for which they operate. They work hard and are rarely praised or even promoted. Others, on the other hand, the "steam talker and coffee cup bearer" have little idea of ​​anything, are in no time with the boss by "you", do all the private work hours (so that they have their heads free after work) spend spending more time in the boss's office than at their own workplace, are not interested in the big picture or their own productivity - and are promoted. From the point of view of the organization, this is almost logical. Organizations strive to maintain stable states. Lateral thinkers COULD bring the company forward. However, they are uncomfortable, threaten with their way of questioning the existing system to shake and are thus perceived as unpleasant. The idlers, however, are unproductive, but also harmless. What's more, they give those responsible a good feeling.

    And here the circle closes, because here the laws of the market apply. In the end, no products and services (analogous to intelligence and productivity) are purchased, but solutions and good feelings (analogous to coffee-epidemics and chief mother-mothering).

    • Simone Janson

      Dear Mrs. Lemcke,
      that with the feelings, so coffee break philosophies and Chefbemutterung, you said nicely. I also come more and more to the point that man lives much more in the Stone Age than he likes.
      One point, however, I see now a little different from when I wrote 2010 this article: courage is important and courage is rewarded.
      But that is precisely what many intelligence beasts lack, critically questioning themselves, as they themselves so beautifully call the example, but thus also press ahead with decisions and ultimately with responsibility. Exactly because of the lack of self-confidence, your specialist suffered ...

  2. Nele E.

    Hello Mrs. Janson and interested,

    The topic has been around for a while, but I first noticed it here today. Since I've also thought about these phenomena again and again, here is a little insight: the polarized entry may be for a feedback round a tried and tested means - especially for knocking positions :-). The topic itself, however, is very complex and complex and raises many more questions. Above all, delimited concepts are needed: what is intelligence, how can it be recognized and / or fixed? What does "stupidity" mean, and then - in the context of success and / or career ?! Everyone connects different content and goals with it !!!! => and accordingly Be ratings fall out. Add to this incalculable factors, such as "at the right time in the right place in the" right "company or closing an existing" gap ".... etc.
    Somewhat more general: a few factors are, I believe, already part of the "success" and "a career". It needs the "will to power", targeted "dealing with power", competence: hard facts and the application of selected aspects of soft skills such. B. communicative competence => use of effective rhetorical means to achieve goals (verbal and non-verbal) through persuasion and u. Also persuasions ("seduce"), or TO IMPOSE THESE !!! etc. ..... Also - as discussed here - to be convinced of themselves and be able to put themselves in the center, that is: be present, do not hide , to signal, I can do that, I do that, I want that, etc. .... The ability to make relevant contacts, to be quite "mastermind", to cultivate rope teams, which means I can create and use shoulder bonds Last but not least, success requires a "narrowing" to a (previously i-as defined) focus and, finally, "the dose makes the poison." Too much or too little also decides about success and career => Rise and Decline! !! Because being able to hold on top requires power, energy, strategy, etc. ......
    I would like to add two aspects of intelligence (otherwise a "doctoral thesis" could develop here): intelligent people need "food" for their brains, so they often stalk to find them Any deer that are not interesting to them, so they prefer to ignore these antlers or overtake them on the left or the right, but they do not like the hoofs, so they use their own nourishment and relocate to ruminating the tried and tested Therefore, with the well-known porridge, they acquire considerable skills in and with different branches, but each prefers similar content, such as organization, planning, leadership, control, etc. .... with these processed Purees confront the Hobees (highly gifted adults or highly gifted bees :-D) and find in execution and Dar There is no equivalent for themselves because they prefer to deal with issues like: are we doing the right things? ... as: Are we doing things right? or from both points of view are able to think, feel and act, etc. ..... The competence forest AND trees to be able to see and also traces in the sand, snow and in the sky, often generates incomprehension, fear, resentment and envy !! Therefore, attacks and battles occur, which often respond to the cognitive-controlled property in such a way that it OVER-LAYS the place and leaves => quite raised head, but without "recognizable victory". :-)) Or sad !!!!
    The last remark: high intelligence is often paired with high sensitivity and / or sensitivity (Andrea Brackmann !!! => quite normally gifted and Beyond the norm, sic !!!), that has the consequence that this "be different" communicates with other people and does not "necessarily" encounter "love" but rather connotations on the contrary. Thus, in addition to the "not seen and become recognized" is a rejection, because the "other" behavior and interest is perceived as a lack of nest smell. Okay - So far - so good. Smirking allowed - absolutely :-))

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Nele,
      I have to admit that at that time the contribution was very impulsive and I probably would not write it like that today. Yes, I know these very intelligent people who are teasing others with their different ways of thinking. However, there are two ways of dealing with it: complaining or thinking with the given intelligence about how to communicate in this way, how others understand you. In this respect, the contribution that I have written here today would be a bit too "grumbling" myself.

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  5. Manuela Potthast

    I almost shared the article - after all, a good approach. I'm up "The mistake of thinking that not all Hartz IV recipients are intellectual lights."
    Many ALG II recipients work full-time and have no more time than a well-paid head of department or similar.
    Yes, of course, people who think and think about themselves and are not always the most popular co-workers. But there should nevertheless be companies which attach great importance to this.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mrs. Potthast,
      But admittedly I did not completely understand what bothers you about the thesis: With the statement "Not all Hartz IV recipients are intellectual luminaries", I put the previously established thesis into question. As you say: Employees in companies are not fundamentally stupid command recipients who have no time to think - and conversely, not all Hartz IV recipients are disguised geniuses. There are such and such. Now I have polemically illuminated the topic to encourage reflection and discussion about the topic.

      Because that is what it is ultimately: for the contribution does not imply any general theses. To generate attention and resonance, polemic is, unfortunately, much better than differentiated consideration.

      It is possible, for example, to make an article from the best comments. Moreover, I am excited about the attention of an old article by 2010, which I myself have been aware of by a recent comment.

      I find it a pity that you do not want to share the article and other people have the opportunity to say your opinion on the subject. But of course this is your decision.

  6. Milena Dagko

    RT @SimoneJanson: Join in the discussion - The lie of the career factor intelligence: Success out of stupidity? -

  7. Tina Groll

    RT @SimoneJanson: Join in the discussion - The lie of the career factor intelligence: Success out of stupidity? -

  8. Simone Janson

    Hello Mr. Brundold,
    Yes - on the one hand I agree with you, certainly with such an attitude also a piece of self-pity is involved and one would like to say "then you just think up something creative, intelligent".
    On the other hand, I would like to take as an example times my own industry journalism: What is going really well, just are not the hochintelektuellen offers from Feulliton or economy but cat content and cruises in Dubai - o-ton of an editor.
    Recently I was at the petrol station, because only two regional newspapers and the picture newspaper were sold in daily newspapers. Everything else had not run, they told me.

    Would we now conclude that more intelligent offers are unnecessary and adapt the level of all newspapers accordingly?

    I see that it is also very intelligent person in the job so that they often go for example because they see things differently than the colleagues or the boss and uncomfortable. Of course, one can represent his views more subtly than some do, but is this always good?

    How are your experiences?

  9. Constantin W.

    Too much intelligence hurts only: the fools are more successful. there is something on that!

  10. Robin Brunold

    "Especially the stupid ones are successful - I'm just too clever to be successful"
    For me, this sounds especially after wailing on a high level.
    How better to justify his own failure than by saying, "I am simply too intelligent to be successful."

  11. Fakt_mrs

    The problem of the creative is the monetarizing of its idea. Everyone needs this type, but no one wants to pay it.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello, the problem is mE more complex: Since creativity is in, there is a very large range of creatives. From this position, the demanders then believe they can afford to push the prices.

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  14. stephan

    "The lie of the career factor intelligence" - or why Bollo has found a job

  15. Eveline3112

    Exciting thesis and so true :-) Tweetcount Widget

  16. Simone Janson

    Strangerli, this is an absolutely brilliant supplement! Thank you, that was really missing!
    PS: If anyone still finds that a point in the list is missing - only to!

  17. Strangerli

    Point 6 is still missing:

    6. Surround yourself with intelligent people

    With a good, experienced and intelligent troupe you do not need to worry anymore. It is important to get people on board, who can do with their intelligence the tasks that are given or delegated to them. These recognize the mistakes that one overlooks out of stupidity, discuss these with each other in the short term and correct them by themselves. Only in rare cases would they go back to the (stupid) supervisor, otherwise they could eventually be described as dependent. Thus behind the back of the boss or the stupid / n errors is eliminated, improved and possibly brought to a success. The stupid sees himself confirmed in his way of working and believes to do everything right.
    But beware: you should be careful not to recognize this independent work too much. Furthermore, it is important to surround yourself with enough followers who would like to smear honey around your mouth. This one can always tell that you have made all this achievement and achievements and not the intelligent. Thus, the name spreads with success.
    Of course, the intelligent must not be too intelligent, because otherwise they would make themselves independent and become a nasty competition. It is best to overload these people with work, so they do not get to think about their life situation too much and then you can make it look like they are too slow at work.

    "Decisions are made by people with time, not people with talent, because they have to deal with the problems people have been dealing with over time."

  18. Frank

    Yes, I also noticed that the fools often succeed.
    Maybe because they're just stupid.
    but it does not always have to be the case.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Frank,
      Of course this is not always so .. that was just deliberately expressed provocatively .. :-)

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  20. Simone Janson

    Hello Meike,
    thanks for the nice comment. First of all, I'm glad that certain blog posts (and specifically all of you mentioned) have not only scared me a bit :-)
    I have to find the article with the Swiss company again ... I am actually no friend of such "women-make-better-theses" because I also had very strange experiences with women and I do not believe that women basically not interested in power (sometimes it's even more stressful because it's more indirect).
    However, my impression is that the goals of men and women are often different. Women are often more concerned with work-life balance, while men seem to have no trouble sitting in the office for 12 hours - probably because they are more defined about their work and willing to sacrifice more time for work , Apart from the fact that I do not think that more presence also basically means more productivity - another topic ... :-)
    Occasionally, I also have the impression that sometimes work seems to become a pure end in itself ... Me too on the enthusiasm for technical products and social media: I find some gagets also pretty cool - but always, because it is me too the connection with humans allows and not because I think the thing in itself cool.
    What does both have to do with the initial thesis? ME are the two other factors that prevent prevail rather feminine views such as generalist thinking, professional and private life, etc. in everyday professional life .... And superficial career tips such as "play the game stop with" in my opinion help only in the short term continue.

  21. Meike Leopold

    Hello Simone, that intelligence alone is no guarantee at all for a steep career - I completely agree with you. If this does not add the necessary power instinct, it does not bring much - professionally. The problem in the quoted by you blog post "Snakeoil" is mine in the fact that he leaves open, whether he is ironically meant or not. On the said blog but was also sometimes of A and B people, if I remember correctly ... Overall, I would say that perhaps it is also about the question of how communication in the (future) knowledge society look like and which form of communication is more profitable: the "female" or the "male" propagated on the said blog. Or a good mix of both. In the seminars of: for example, she learns how vehemently acting, etc., works and functions so that she can prevail in predominantly male-dominated power structures. But maybe there will be seminars for men in the future in which they learn to be more team-oriented and I once say "rule-less" to communicate? I am thinking of a nice article in the current Brandeins about a Swiss company, where for business reasons (!) Almost only women work ..

    Greetings, Meike

  22. Eva Zil

    Hello Mrs. Janson,

    I think your theses are right.
    However: Really smart people, who really want to bring something to them, recognize their inner career killer and work on it. This can be done with coach, trainings, behavioral therapies, etc.
    For this worker would continue to remain in this situation (unless he is happy with his professional life in this way), it would be a sign of stupidity.
    So: emotional intelligence is in demand!

    Best regards

  23. Simone Janson

    Dear Ms Zils,
    thank you for your comment. They are, of course, right in principle and that is what women, in particular, are always recommended to us in various advisers: to adapt their own behavior.
    However, with my somewhat striking title, I also wanted to encourage people to think about the fact that the situation will not change as a result of constant adjustment, and that Rick, as Rick said, is in danger of adapting too much.
    Simone Janson

  24. Simone Janson

    Hello christina
    i am dacord with you as far as creative work is concerned. But, as you say correctly, it depends on the nature of the work. Not all work requires creativity, even if this is so. Also and not just in so-called creative professions.
    Sometimes it's just a matter of doing stupid, routine tasks - search engine optimization is a good example for a blog. And that's why companies need people who adapt to existing work routines without questioning every step of the way - this is also related to the (technical) complexity with which such things happen today: you can not just do something different even though it may seem better at first, because it involves lengthy changes. I notice that with such simple things as my blog :-)
    I can understand that you prefer to write to me privately, but then, unfortunately, because of time constraints, I can not help you. Sorry, just limited resources.
    Simone Janson

  25. Cristina

    Hello Mrs. Janson,

    this time I would like to thank you for your prompt and detailed response (also I would like to go to your offer in the end, but I would like to write you in this regard possibly, if possible, more private).

    You say yes, you would also have an employee who would make things as much as you would like, just to save time ... Your argument I can understand very well, but it is not rather that this would also depend on the nature of the activity? I find it frankly quite problematic (and also risky) to put on old-fashioned creativity or critical (self) reflexive thinking, on reproduction of one's own, unless you have no interest but as much as possible in the current state. Of course, such activities are always necessary and dependent on the area of ​​employment, which is why they can not be formulated in a general manner. I also find that many of the responsible persons are already working on the most efficient work where different personalities come together.
    By the way, I have the impression that it is not really about the dichotomy of stupidity / intelligence ... but rather about the right self-awareness as well as the willingness or ability to deal with itself, about its goals as well as limits, but also Principles and values ​​(you call it courage to go your own way and I see the same way) ... or the deficiency. Because rightly "stupid", those who can not use specific situations or abilities to their professional advantage can not be, or? ... my feeling is that the success already depends very much on the individual strategies with which each one for itself the best , whether through adaptation and compromise, or through good, convincing arguments and performance. Just as I said, depending on the activity profile and area, but also depend on the employer. And in relation to the honesty of the companies you are missing: I guess, the companies themselves are subject to specific requirements and it must be economic rationamente, which is why they propagate something different than they do (honesty to themselves will not always be the profits increase)
    My conclusion is that it may be a long time to find your own way, and then to go ... but it is definitely, for me at least, more promising

  26. humancaps altmann

    Interesting - RT @SimoneJanson: Freshly blogged: The lie of the career factor intelligence: Success out of stupidity?

  27. Cristina

    Hello Mrs. Janson,

    First a big thank you for this, I think, excellent article! You are expressing exactly what concerns me today, because I found that of all my friends and acquaintances, especially those who, in my opinion, are extremely intelligent, professionally "not so well", in the usual sense of Word not so "successful" (I'm even looking for a job and it seems like I think too much and analyze and reflect so much that I seem to build myself hurdles in the interviews ... because I just can not 1: 1 what I find all over the application boards (aside from all the inconsistencies found in such different "works"), it seems to me that most of you demand that adaptability, and so does you mention ... such a kind of puppet existence, I think, I miss somehow that just authenticity and reflexivity really not so high on course are (it i but my whole personal opinion); a friend of mine, on the other hand, did everything she could to find out what she found in the only guidebook she leafed through, and got a job at the first job interview. So much of me to the aspect "questioning", so I can only agree.

    On the other hand, perhaps it depends on the very personal understanding of success: It may be that intelligent people in a critical attitude just distance themselves from the conventional concept of success ... so that they place much more emphasis on the meaning of their employment, it that they actually carry out activities that personally fulfill them and that are also compatible with their life goals ... even if they are not materially remunerated so well ... that is, working out of intrinsic motivation, and not necessarily for status and the attendant reputation.

    But in principle, I agree with you ... even if a critic could just reply to the point 1 that with a healthy dose of self-esteem and self-confidence could also restrain the self-criticism, which may be a hindrance on the road to success ... I understand All right, what you're talking about here.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello christina
      thank you for your experience report and for the praise :-)
      That with the adjustment was also my problem, whereby I had quite a job quickly thanks to prior experience in the study - it just did not fit human then.
      Therefore, I do not think much of bending in the interview, unless you keep it up in the long run ... I have made myself out of experience, but also not a panacea. You always have to think about what your goal is and what kind of stress / compromise you are willing to accept. Adaptation is probably the easier way to go your own way requires courage, because you can not and should orientate yourself to no one else. Therefore, all the advice and donors that some people so incredibly like to give, should be understood only as a guide. Unfortunately, humans are happy to be a herd animal :-)
      As you already know, self-awareness is important. On the one hand, so as not to be beaten down by failures and to continue until you have found the right employer (unfortunately I also know a few examples that are more and more frustrated with rumbling, which of course is counterproductive) and on the other hand also for sale. Because with good arguments and corresponding experiences / achievements one can perhaps also score with something. As a career starter then lies the real sticking point - in addition to the fact that sometimes it does not fit human synonymous.
      I have to confess, if I were looking for an employee now, I would also take someone who would make things as much as I do, to save time alone.

      But what also annoys me is that while companies propagandise on the one hand to seek creative, innovative minds - in practice then often resort to proven patterns, which is also related to the fact that no human resources would like to make a mistake ... exactly on the subject of fit and authenticity, I found an honest post here
      I would find a little more honesty to yourself and also to the applicants!

      A second problem, however, is what Rick mentioned above. Most of them arrange themselves somehow with the conditions, which may be the best solution for the individual. Only: Adjusting sometimes works faster than you think. And probably nothing will change.

      By the way: Christina, if you like, you can send me a report / profile including photo, link and job application for publication - as Mr. Lenz on - maybe that brings something ...
      Simone Janson

  28. Simone Janson

    Rick: Not a bad attitude. Think to heed the last tip is the hardest ... the borders blur quickly :-)

  29. Rick

    Everyone knows of course a whistle that has a lot to say, uses the elbow effectively, can delegate well (very important!), (...), but actually just count to 3.

    The question "What are you doing here?" or "What's the nonsense?" Many are sure to find themselves in a job, at least initially.
    But since there is no reasonable answer or solution,
    it is better not to think about it anymore.
    Because pondering brings nothing and spoils the mood.

    Whoever has pondered too much has lost.
    What can go wrong with the project X, oh.
    This is different with the dumb-dreiste;
    if what goes wrong, the others have to blame,
    at least the predominant.
    (woe contradicts one)

    So a bit of a hole will help.
    The art is not to become a big one.

  30. CristinaSeidensticke

  31. CristinaSeidensticke

    RT @SimoneJanson: Are smart people actually less successful? The lie of the career factor intelligence:

  32. Simone Janson

    Frisch reblogged: The lie of the career factor intelligence: success from stupidity?

  33. Competencepartner

    The lie of the career factor intelligence: Success out of stupidity ?: Like is told, belongs to success ...

  34. Simone Janson

    4 theses for discussion: The lie of the career factor intelligence - success out of stupidity?

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