Skip to content

One Principle To Rule Them All

Beyond a certain threshold, the role of leader transformed from leading by executing, to merely coaching the middle management. You don’t need to (or indeed cannot afford to) understand everything by yourself again, let alone supervising the progress of each project or even directly executing the project. Delegation is not a nice to have, it is a must, or even imperative for survival.

I suppose I should not strain myself too much. Instead of trying to learn everything by myself, I should recruit people to my cause. After all, you can only build an empire by recruiting as many specialist as you can to serve your cause.

A case on Lookism (a webtoon) where a Chaebol (who apparently gives the protagonist the body-double for a mysterious reason) have ten genius youngsters serving under him, ranging from gangster leader, K-pop idol, to genius hacker. Each of them is genius whether in arts, fighting, or computer, or any other thing.

And when it comes to spotting talent, national talent pipeline matters. A case in point is the Shou Hei Kun in Kingdom (a historical manga) who was born in the superstate of Chu (very large population) south of Qin, but migrated northward to Qin. Shou Hei Kun was a super genius military strategist. Chu has the advantage in the large gene pool due to large population, thus statistically is more able to produce larger quantity of extremely talented people.The Qin leaders was wondering how their fate would be if Shou Hei Kun did not migrate in his childhood and Qin has to engage in Battle with Chu with Shou Hei Kun as a strategist on Chu’s side. Qin will have a very different future. But having demographics in your favor is not enough. The next phase in talent pipeline should be built as well.

The next steps should be selecting from the available pool (either by using competition or nation-wide selection as a search algorithm, such as math or science olympiad, IQ test, physical test, or whatever that can serve as the most accurate proxy for existing potential and future performance), then educate them (requiring institutional support and resource), and deploy them (so they will grow as they would be seasoned, experienced, and battle-hardened), and last but not least, make them coach the next generation (US Air force ace pilots a prohibited from battles after a certain number of fights to coach the younger generation of pilots. Japanese ace pilots are given a fight-to-the-death policy, making them dying at a faster rate than they can be replaced and their replacement are of lower quality because the next generation are not coached by the best pilots. Thus Japan gradually lost their air superiority late in WWII).

Some example of search algorithm:

809CD521-EEC9-4557-A76A-3B59DC9AD00A

Source: Where men are men, and giants walk the earth

“Question: why are so many leading modern scientists so dull and lacking in scientific ambition? Answer: because the science selection process ruthlessly weeds-out interesting and imaginative people. At each level in education, training and career progression there is a tendency to exclude smart and creative people by preferring Conscientious and Agreeable people. The progressive lengthening of scientific training and the reduced independence of career scientists have tended to deter vocational ‘revolutionary’ scientists in favour of industrious and socially adept individuals better suited to incremental ‘normal’ science. High general intelligence (IQ) is required for revolutionary science. But educational attainment depends on a combination of intelligence and the personality trait of Conscientiousness; and these attributes do not correlate closely. Therefore elite scientific institutions seeking potential revolutionary scientists need to use IQ tests as well as examination results to pick-out high IQ ‘under-achievers’. As well as high IQ, revolutionary science requires high creativity. Creativity is probably associated with moderately high levels of Eysenck’s personality trait of ‘Psychoticism’. Psychoticism combines qualities such as selfishness, independence from group norms, impulsivity and sensation-seeking; with a style of cognition that involves fluent, associative and rapid production of many ideas. But modern science selects for high Conscientiousness and high Agreeableness; therefore it enforces low Psychoticism and low creativity. Yet my counter-proposal to select elite revolutionary scientists on the basis of high IQ and moderately high Psychoticism may sound like a recipe for disaster, since resembles a formula for choosing gifted charlatans and confidence tricksters. A further vital ingredient is therefore necessary: devotion to the transcendental value of Truth. Elite revolutionary science should therefore be a place that welcomes brilliant, impulsive, inspired, antisocial oddballs – so long as they are also dedicated truth-seekers.”

Source: Why are modern scientists so dull?

“You’re the captain of a team, and you want to select really good players. How do you do it?
One way is through what I call positive selection. You devise a test – say, who can run the fastest – and pick the people who do best. If you want to be really strict, like if you’re selecting for the Olympics, you only pick the top fraction of a percent. If you’re a player, and you want to get selected, you have to train to do better on the test.
The opposite method is negative selection. Instead of one test to pick out winners, you design many tests to pick out losers. You test, say, who can’t run very well when it’s hot out, and get rid of them. Then you test who can’t run very well when it’s cold out, and get rid of them. Then you test running in the rain, and get rid of the losers there. And so on and so forth. When you’re strict with negative selection, you have lots and lots of tests, so that it’s very hard for any one person to pass through all the filters.

Elite college admissions is an example of a negative selection test. There’s no one way you can do really, really well, and thereby be admitted to Harvard. Instead, you have to pass a bunch of different selection filters: Are your SATs good enough? Are your grades good enough? Is your essay good enough? Are your extracurriculars good enough? Are your recommendations good enough? Failure on any one step usually means not getting admitted. And as competition has intensified, colleges have added more and more filters, like the supplemental applications top schools now require (in addition to the Common Application). It wasn’t always this way – Harvard used to admit primarily based on an entrance exam – until they discovered this let too many Jews in (no, seriously). More recently, the negative selection has been intensified by eliminating the SAT’s high ceiling.

Grades are another example – A is a good grade, but there’s no excellent grade. There’s no grade that you only get if you’re in the top 0.1%. Hence, getting a really good GPA doesn’t mean excelling, so much as it means never failing. If you’re in high school and are taking six classes, if you fail one, your GPA is now 3.3 or less, regardless of how good you are otherwise.

In any field, at the top end, you tend to get a lot of variance. (Insert tales of the mad artist and mad mathematician.) Negative selection suppresses variance, by eliminating many of the dimensions on which people vary. Students at Yale are, for the most part, all strikingly similar – same socioeconomic class, same interests, same pursuits, same life goals, even the same style of dress. A lot of people tend to assume performance follows a bell curve, but in some cases, it’s more like a Pareto distribution: the top people do hundreds or thousands of times better than average. Hence, if you eliminate the small fraction of people at the very top, your performance is hosed.”

Source: Negative and Positive Selection

However, I also need to have a fortress of knowledge in the personal level. Not everything should be delegated, particularly the bigger picture stuffs and revolutionary visions.I will need all the education available to enable cross fertilization of ideas inside my head. That can only happen within the brain of one person. Interneuron communication is faster than interpersonal communication, let alone inter-institutional communication.

Thus the division of labor and polymath capabilities should go hand in hand. Too much knowledge will make you a disabled visionary who are crippled with all the insights that is more than he can bear. Too much delegation will leave you as a mentally checked-out executives that rely too much on underlings and have none of the revolutionary ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: