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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Koan No. 14

Koan No 14 on competence vs brilliance

“No one doubts Condoleezza Rice’s brilliance. It’s her competence that worries me.” Sidney Blumenthal Guardian 2004


Bit of a cheap shot I know but a worthy pause for thought as we start a new year and planning heads review their budgets and wonder which wunderkind they’ll manage to snap up this year when the musical chairs of agency moves and salary increases starts all over again. For a value added function such as account planning brilliance does matter. We rely on people getting to answers faster than an account team would all by itself or without taking up too much senior management input. BUT what price is competence? Is it ever enough? How many briefs need the bleeding obvious? Particularly as the brilliant solution may take a bit of selling in clientside. With APG awards coming up, consider that there is still a law of averages. Which can’t be beat. Of course brilliance AND competence gets my vote every time. But competence dressed up as brilliance?? Could undermine the currency we trade in – trust. Good luck with the casestudies boys and girls just don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade and competence craft.



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