…today’s secret…Those Japanese Combat Pilots.

“Intelligent people, when assembled into an organization, will tend toward collective stupidity.”

It’s not important who authored those words because you don’t know or won’t remember him anyway.

However, what is important is that you do not underestimate the power of human stupidity.

Early in World War II Japanese fighter pilots were better than American pilots because they had gained valuable experience while fighting in China. Then collective stupidity took over.

Japanese military leaders stayed glued to the “fly till you die” macho approach to war while American pilots were taken out of combat after flying a certain amount of missions and sent home to train others.

As the war went on many of Japan’s top fighter pilots were eventually shot down and replaced by inexperienced pilots. Meanwhile, American pilots, who had been trained by veteran combat pilots, began to get the upper hand.

By 1944 Americans had virtually wiped out Japan’s carrier-based planes and ruled the skies.

This is a great example of collective intelligence winning over collective stupidity on the highest of levels.

On a local level, your organization helps the marginalized rise above their current situation. You go guy!

1) You instinctively know that you and your coworkers are more intelligent together than each of you alone.

2) You also sense that you are more stupid together than each of you alone.

Let’s be blunt with this question. Which one of the two above statements best fits your organization these days?

No, I don’t want to know your answer.

Our not-so-important-above-author is not wrong. We’re not stupid, we just tend to act stupid because it’s easier to just go along with the herd in today’s culture.

“One shall not speak aloud what one really thinks” kinda thing.

To achieve organizational intelligence you and your organization must recognize and fight collective stupidity every day. You must try hard to harness your collective brain power and focus that brain power on achieving the purpose of your organization.

Yes, easier said than done. However, understanding organization intelligence is a first big step. Hang in there. Do some digging on it.