I was privileged to work on a congressional study, the project on national security reform, and I got to meet with some real remarkable people in the U.S. National Security System through the years. And one comment a gentleman made was, you know, when we had a crisis, we would sit in the security room, and we would hear from the economic analyst that will tell us, the economies of the region how they might be affected. We hear from the political analyst. We hear from the military analyst, and they come in individually and give us their PowerPoint presentations, and their conversations about what it means from that aspect. And then they would leave the room, and it was up to us to integrate that into a thoughtful course of action. And he said, I would have given my kingdom for a generalist who can actually – who can integrate this. You know, I want a country expert that’s good, a military expert, but I don’t… Now, it’s just like the integration of the glass, integration of the eyeball for the information streams, the same idea. I need a generalist. Somebody who can be creative, understand across these disciplines, how things might pan out and what our best course of action might look like. And I think that applies here as well.
Creativity is the core aspect. The ability to, again, check one’s ego, relinquish control and consider creative approaches to the problems that we face, to try to solve the problems, right? Now, align that with somewhat famous cognitive resource theory that says the more experienced you are, the less innovative you get, because you already know how things work. So, in a high stress environment, this is the person you want working on things based on that experience. In a little stress environment, when you want to think creatively about the future of the company, that’s the last person you want in the room, because they’re going to go right to you “Yeah and I saw it before. No, that’s – it never works here.”
They embed – they didn’t bring with them all the cultural learnings, right? The chimps in the cage example, all the culture learnings that they don’t even know how they got there on articulating culture, and they just say: “well, that’s not going to work. Trust me, I’ve been here before, that won’t work.” Whereas they maybe completely off base on that because the world has changed, they have partial information, they don’t know why they have some of the biases that they have, and even at the brain level they’re not hearing some things that disagree with their notions.