Find the Smartest People in Your Organization

How do you find the smartest people in an organization? As we all know, intelligence does not always correspond to current job title. And in an technology company such as Novell, the real brilliant guys and gals are engineers hidden many layers below the top.

Here’s how Eric Schmidt found them, as he told Harvard Business Review in 2001.

“I used a kind of algorithm to locate these people. A few days after I started, I was on the company shuttle from San Jose to Provo, where our engineering staff is centered, and I was sitting knee-to-knee with two engineers embroiled in a fascinating, heated argument. They were obviously two extremely bright people. I asked them to give me the names of the smartest people they knew in the company. They gave me a list, and over the next week I set up half-hour meetings with all of those other smart people, and I asked each of them to give me the names of the ten smartest people they knew. Because the smart people in an organization tend to know one another, I eventually found out who they were — about 100 in all.”

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