Harry Truman once said, "The 'C' students run the world."
Having taken this concept to heart at an early age, and used it as the North Star for academic guidance ever since, I've sometimes been forced to wonder whether Truman was right or not.
Happily, Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (1800-1891) has come to the rescue by providing a matrix that proves the truth behind Truman's gut-instinct dictum.
Over his long military career, Moltke had the following to say about four types of men in his officer corps:
1. Smart & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
2. Smart & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
3. Dumb & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm
4. Dumb & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause thing to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.
Later Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein (1887-1973), a brilliant Wehrmacht strategists who ran afoul of Hitler, agreed with Molke's model as follows:
“There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard- working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard- working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.”
(This idea was originally posted on a blog written by a retired military man: http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com.)