Genius vs System

Genius vs System

In Samuel Huntington’s “Soldier and the State”, he articulated the progress of the institutionalization of the professional soldier in Germany, England and France. The contrast in the development in each of the state was attributed the result of the Napoleonic Wars. Having a genius (Napoleon Bonaparte) and winning the war, France did not develop its military professionally, relying on the natural genius to win their wars. By contrast, the Prussian states, who lost, promptly developed their institutes to train their officers, believing that a well-trained corp of officer is more important.


In our discussion of forming teams today, there is an underlying feeling that, having a high-achiever in the group hindered the group bonding process. This is due to the assumption that a high-achiever would be more interested in his own achievement than the group’s. Thus, he sees the group as hindrance to his own progress or worse, rivals. Would having a high-achiever really deter the group from bonding?

Of course, in the study of teaming forming, the end state was the high-achiever becomes aware that it is his self-interest ruins the team and, in turn, makes his efforts to succeed worse. However, not all high-achievers are able to reach this realization… Sometimes, by pure “brute will”, the high-achiever can drag the whole team to succeed or the whole team just hinges upon the high-achiever to work and depend on him to lead them. While this is not be the most effective way to work as a team, this covers the distrust and instability in the group. Oft, the leader / high-achiever may have the illusion that all is going well in the team while the team members are back-stabbing each other behind his back. This happens especially when there is only one apparent unchallenged leader.

Would having a “genius” in the group drag the overall results of the group? That sounds counter-intuitive to me…

If the genius has high EQ as well (not as common as we like), he may be aware of his effects on the ones around him and seek to achieve team effort rather than just advancing his own. This, he will realise, will improve the chances of his own advancement as well.

Thus, the key of genius vs system is not a “either or” question, but how the genius can use the team system to further his own advancement and improves the whole system.


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