Ben Breen quotes Von Hammerstein-Equord:
I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.
Ben then argues that clever and lazy people make good modern business leaders because they:
- insist on taking the time and space required to create, and to find new ways forward;
- are natural delegators;
- are always looking for simpler, easier ways to do things;
- focus on the essentials, and despise ‘busywork’;
But perhaps a better description than “lazy” would be “always looking for scalable solutions which reduce brute labor and complexity”. My experience is that finding those solutions requires hard work.