Hierarchy of Characteristics for Promotion

This is a funny story which may or may not be true.

In around 1916, during the First World War, the German Army High Command was short of officers so they issued a statement to their troops.

The statement read:

The German high command has always recognised four characteristics that are inherent in our officers. They are either intelligent or stupid, energetic or idle.

It has been the policy of the high command only to promote those officers who are intelligent and energetic. This is to ensure that the correct plans are put in to effect with the requisite energy and enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, for some time, it has been necessary to promote officers who are intelligent but idle. But at least we can be reasonably confident that sensible plans will be put in to effect…when the officers eventually get round to it.

Regrettably, it is now necessary to promote to promote the third category of officer, those who are stupid and idle. But, we hope, at least, that their indolence will, to some extent, nullify the ill effects of their stupidity.

Under no circumstances that we can envisage, are the forth category of officer to be promoted as there is nothing more dangerous than somebody who is stupid and energetically puts their stupid plans in to effect.

I love this story! It reminds me of a quote by Jim Rohn, which goes something like: “Life change starts with education not motivation. If someone’s an idiot and you motivate them, you’ve got a motivated idiot!”

Danny Sroda is owner and Lead Trainer at Reach Corporate Fitness for Business.