Management Information

Never Hire Anyone Dumber Than You Are!

In a previous life I was a Navy Pilot. Great life, great people to be around. People who were all doing great things around the world flying off great big aircraft carriers. In an environment that complex and dangerous, you need to have teams of people working as one, or bad things begin to happen in large quantities.

The people onboard aircraft carriers are divided into two groups, those that make the ship float and those that make the planes fly. Those that make the ship float are known as "ship's company", and those that make the planes fly are with "the airwing". During one tour of duty, I was assigned to the "airwing staff". The airwing staff coordinated the activities of the ten aircraft squadrons deployed aboard the aircraft carrier. It was while working for our Airwing Commander, Captain Jerry Norris, that I would unknowingly learn what has to become my most valued rule as an entrepreneur.

Captain Norris was quite the character. A fighter pilot with all the fixings! Tall, handsome, and with enough confident charisma to handle any situation, be that in the air, on land, or at sea. But the truth of it is, none of the eight officers on the staff considered Captain Norris to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.

It wasn't that things were not going well for he or the airwing. It just seemed strange that so simple and relaxed an individual could lead so effectively. You must understand that Captain Norris was in charge of the operations of nearly 3000 men and almost 100 of the most complex flying machines on the planet. But fly we did, and did it well. Our airwing was often singled out for acts of excellence.

It was during a short visit in Cannes, France that Captain Norris was to give me my lesson. Like so many of life's lessons, the lesson was unintended.

If there is one thing that flying fellows enjoy more than flying, it is the telling of tales while ashore! And it seems nothing gets the mind flowing like the flow of beer. Our cups runneth over, as did our mouths!

The topic of the evening turned to how smart each of us was compared to our fearless leader. We were even so bold as to believe that he was fearless because he simply did not understand what was going on around him. In fact, it was we who did not understand what was going on around us!

The good Captain was sitting quietly within the sound of our voices. He had heard every one of our comments on his lack of intellect.

As the Commander with the confident charisma approached, we were certain that if we were shown mercy we would be court martialed, and we feared that if the Captain choose not to be merciful, we would just be shot right on sight!

Speaking got us into this predicament, so silence seemed the best choice. Captain Norris spoke. He acknowledged our belief that each of us had among the finest minds in the entire Navy in our specific specialty. He flattered those things that each had done since beginning our assignment with the airwing. Captain Norris offered that he had hand selected each one of us from the entire fleet, having had to call in favors, make threats, and impose demands, just to have each of us work with him. We were there because he believed us to be the best, and he wanted only the best. Seems he held us in the same regard that we held ourselves.

Then Captain Norris spoke to the issue of intellect, specifically our perception of his lack thereof. Captain Norris said, "The mark of the true leader is not one who gives orders, or feigns knowledge, but rather the leader who plants the needed seed in a fertile mind so gently, that the subordinate believes the idea emerged from within."

Continued silence. He was in complete control of our actions and had always been. He chose each of us knowing full well that in our specific areas of expertise, we were well beyond him. And knowing full well that in his area, that of building teams of the best and brilliant, then allowing them to take ownership of ideas, he was the expert.

Captain Norris asked what I had learned. My response, "I should never hire anyone dumber than I am." "You've got it," he said. "Must have just emerged from within."

Wally Conway is President of Florida HomePro Inspections, and has recently written a book entitled "Secrets of the Happy Home Inspector", available at or Wally's expertise and experience has been sought after by HGTV's "House Detective", the Florida Times Union, and many real estate boards and associations. As a speaker, writer, instructor, and host of The Happy Home Inspector radio show every Saturday at 3 PM on WOKV 690, Wally blends the right amount of up-to-date information with just the right amount of humor, insight, motivation, and real-world application. Visit for more information!

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at


How Important Is Empathy To Successful Management?
Empathy is often regarded as one of those "soft" leadership skills (unlike, say, authority, technical prowess, or the ability to present effectively to an audience the size of a small city). But when you consider that effective management is all about ...

WV News

Fleet Management Office unopposed to takeover
WV News
CHARLESTON — Officials with the West Virginia Department of Administration and Fleet Management Office say they are not opposed to a bill that would transfer the office to the control of the Department of Administration. “This bill enhances the ...

Tracking Mason Hawkins' Southeastern Asset Management Portfolio - Q4 2017 Update
Seeking Alpha
Please visit our Tracking Mason Hawkins' Southeastern Asset Management Portfolio series to get an idea of his investment philosophy and our previous update for the fund's moves during Q3 2017. This quarter, Hawkins' 13F portfolio value decreased ~3 ...


HOA Homefront: Can management companies ask $800 for documents during a sale?
The management company charges $750 for supplying current financial reports, CC&Rs, rules and regulations, etc., to the new buyer. $750 seems like highway robbery! Are there any limits to what they can charge? Is this fee out of line? — J.S ...

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin sturgeon program a paragon of natural resource ...
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The sturgeon management program in Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago system is regarded.

and more »

China may issue new asset management rules soon: analysts
BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- China may unveil new asset management rules soon based on statements from the central bank earlier this month, analysts said. The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said on Feb.14 in a quarterly monetary ...

Clemson Extension holding stormwater management conference on March 13
Sumter Item
COLUMBIA - The Clemson Cooperative Extension Service is holding its first stormwater pond management conference in the Midlands area on March 13. Numerous neighborhood lakes and retention ponds broke during the October 2015 flood, resulting in ...

Financial Times

Standard Life Aberdeen seals shift into asset management
Financial Times
The recently-merged Standard Life Aberdeen's £3.2bn sale of its insurance business to Phoenix, announced on Friday, marked the final act in a field where it has been a leading force since its predecessor company was created in 1825, and completes its ...
Standard Life Aberdeen share price, latest news and opinion | City A.M.City AM

all 135 news articles »

WPSD Local 6

Emergency Management leaders requesting you to document, call in your storm damage
WPSD Local 6
Emergency Management leaders requesting you to document, call in your storm damage. February 25, 2018. WPSD Staff,. MARSHALL COUNTY, KY – Emergency Management leaders are asking you to contact them about any storm damage. The Marshall County Emergency ...


VeChain (VEN): Bringing Supply Chain Management Home
In the wildly competitive cryptocurrency market, investor satisfaction is not enough; a well packaged crypto is what draws the user curiosity. VeChain (VEN) believes in specialty and this is why they are taking the supply chain management industry to ...

and more »

Google News

home | site map
© 2007