Seven Ways to Get Smarter

Given my druthers, I’d choose smart over dumb. Sadly, all of us do things that prolong dumbness.

staying dumb

4 qualities of smart leaders who stay dumb:


Staying dumb requires persistence. Growing smarter requires change.

Dumb leaders persist in:

  1. Negative patterns.
  2. The false belief that the people who caused the problem can solve the problem.
  3. Blabbing.
  4. The belief that trying harder solves problems. Trying harder makes things worse when you’re doing the wrong things.
  5. Rejecting input from frontline employees – people doing the work.


Smart leaders, who stay dumb, are too busy to get smart. Dumb leaders don’t have time for:

  1. Classes.
  2. Books.
  3. Coaches.
  4. Seminars.
  5. Mentoring.
  6. Self-reflection.
  7. Play.

Dumb takes more work than smart.


Dumb leaders are glum leaders. A disappointing past, coupled with a dark future, disheartens the best of us.

The glummest leaders of all are busy persisting in strategies that don’t work.


Dumb leaders, who aren’t glum, are dumb optimists. The universe is bringing success to them on a silver platter.

You need a hard dose of negativity, if you’re in a persistent downward spiral.

You’ll be spiraling next year, if you don’t change.

Seven ways to get smart:

  1. Embrace the dark-side. Dig into your disappoints, failures, and frustrations, don’t run.
  2. Go with their gut. You’ve been going with your gut and it isn’t working. What do experience leaders suggest?
  3. Include others in the process. Isolation makes you dumb.
  4. Maintain optimism. Believe that learning, adapting, and hard work, works.
  5. Persist in exploration and evaluation, but, always try things.
  6. Follow your energy. You can’t succeed for long if you’re constantly drained.
  7. Reflect. There was a time when you were smarter. What were you doing?

Bonus: Confess you don’t know. Sometimes dumb is smart.

What are smart things you’ve done to deal with being dumb?