Clever people find ways to cheat 

Perhaps I should rephrase that to cleaver people find ways round the system. I have always been sceptical about the usefulness of IQ in recruitment. Measuring an individual's ability to spot patterns and predict the next in the sequence identifies those who are better at it but doesn't offer a reliable indicator of future effectiveness as a manager. However this does not mean I wasn't curious to know my own IQ . I bought I book by a well know author on the subject with the title " Know your own IQ". The book explained the " science" behind the concept of IQ and had a series of tests. A chart gave you your IQ based on the number of correct answers. The introduction explained that your IQ could be improved with practice at doing the tests. So I was not too disappointed at my initial score. The book informed me that the average university student scored 120 so that was my target. I completed several tests and having failed to hit my target gave up.

Over a drink in the pub I recounted my experience to my friend, Roger. I assumed he would agree with me that I was cleaver and IQ tests were rubbish. Instead he said , did this book have the answers at the back? Yes I said. Did you look at the answers? No I said affronted at the idea. Then he said " well if your not smart enough to cheat and lie about it your score is probably right".

My experience as a senior manager has only confirmed the wisdom of my friend. People who swiftly climbed the career ladder were not necessarily the most talented , most committed or the most effective just better at finding ways round the system. In some cases that was getting the best out of HR and Finance in others it was over stating their achievements and taking the credit for the work of others.

Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger


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