Brilliant, Down to Earth people – A dying Species

Recently I had an email debate in our building Yahoo Group with a very intelligent person – who stuck to his point even when he knew he was on the wrong track.  And I asked myself where does this behavior come from ?  One thing led to the other and here I am trying to present a new theory in the form of a simple grid to try and position people

Over 2000 years back the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) incorporated the four temperaments – Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic & Phlegmatic into his medical theories. Since then these have formed the basis of many psychometric & behavioral testing methods. (Source – Wikipedia) This is indeed complex and difficult to understand.

Lets look back –  over the years we would have interacted or been influenced by thousands of people – famous personalities, teachers, friends, office colleagues, managers, team members , all the people you have interviewed for potential jobs , a shopkeeper , a Pizza delivery boy…….. And I ask myself is there a simple and easy grid that can be created, to plot the behaviors of all these people, something that is effective & simple. Something that does not require a degree in Psychology to understand.  Here is a simple grid that I propose – let me know if this appeals to you.

First let me ask you two simple questions

a)   Would you like your Child to be Brilliant or Dumb?

b)   Would you like your Child to be Arrogant or a Simple Down to Earth person?

The answer is obvious. So I guess the same thing applies for everyone you interact with. Using this simple principle I have created a grid called the B.D.A.D template. A visual speaks more effectively than words so I am enclosing the grid with samples of few people who fit in beautifully into the four different quadrants.

BA Final copy

The BA Type (Brilliant Arrogant) 

The name is self explanatory. These guys are world beaters. They are best in class. Many are Brilliant bordering on eccentricity. They Know it – and thats where the arrogance comes from. They are probably less than 0.1% of the global population – brilliant & hardworking they are a deadly combination. They are high achievers and are almost always right with their logic – but on that rare occasion when they are wrong they do not accept it and stick to their guns. They come from the best of colleges & universities what they missed out was a simple sentence that can be so powerful – “Sorry I was wrong” ! In India the IIT/IIM ‘s generates many of this type of personalities.

The BD Type (Brilliant – Down To Earth) 

The world would be a much better place if we had more of these people. Everyone loves these guys. They are Brilliant & Simple. Their class speaks for themselves. They are so talented that they shine & sparkle. Sadly this is a tribe that is continuing to diminish in numbers – call it the curse of Kaliyug. Its great to have these people as your manager or your team members – it just makes your job a breeze , thankfully I am in that spot these days.

The AD Type (Arrogant & Dumb ) –  This is a deadly combination . A dangerous type and you want to stay away from these people by a mile. They are loud, thick-skinned, and inconsistent. Some are also wily and that makes them a deadly and miserable specimen of humanity. You will see them all over the place – the guy in office taking credit for work he has not done, the cricketer who knows he has friends in BCCI, the kid whose father is a big shot “babu” ……… Some of them have done very well in their careers – one even went on to become the President of the US !!!  I may be biased here but I feel that in India this specimen is found in higher density North of the Narmada, specifically in and around the NCR region.

And finally the type thats probably 80% of the world population , The Dumb – Down to Earth (DD) Type

This is the common man, Not sure if this is the group that Justice Katju was referring when he said that 90% of Indians are dumb. These guys don’t have a public view and tend to get swayed easily. These people love to be in groups and follow the voice of a leader. They are simple, down to earth people, not harmless in any way. They are just the quiet silent mass.

So are there just 4 types? Like in any grid there are shades of traits of these four characteristics in every individual. With this Grid its easy to create a scale where 10 = Most Brilliant, 1 = Big Dumbo  & again 10 = Most Down to Earth and 1 = Most Arrogant

So a B10D10 = Best profile of someone who is extremely Brilliant & Rooted to the ground. Thats a dream profile. We all need to work hard to get there or maybe its just in the genes.

The other end of the spectrum is B1D1 = Someone who is extremely Dumb & Arrogant. In-between these extremes you have all the different permutations & combinations where we can fit almost everyone we know.

So the next time you need to hire a person – you can send a detailed JD to your HR manager but top it with a ” I want a B5 D5 guy” –  because that may best explain the cultural fitment you need for your team.

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