Every organization has a ratio of idiots to non-idiots. This is the idiot ratio.
It’s an easy way to measure the talent pool in any organization. If for every 10 people you work with 3 are morons, your ratio is 3:10.
How to use it: when two people meet to compare their workplaces, both parties think through the people they have to work with regularly and assess how many are incompetent or ineffective. The resulting ratio, 1 in 5, or 1 in 20, is the idiot ratio.
With the ratio two people can quickly compare their assessments of their teams.
Every executive says “we have the smartest people in the world” but that’s just self serving hype. There is no executive that says “our talent sucks” or “we are mostly idiots”. Even if they believed that, they’d never say it.
- Intelligence doesn’t guarantee chemistry. A collaborative team of good people can run circles around a dysfunctional team of geniuses. (See Teams and Stars)
- Idiocy is about the person, incompetence is about the job. Calling it the Incompetence Ratio would be more accurate, as the person might be a bad fit for the job but possibly good fits for other jobs, but less fun to say.
- It’s assumed you are not the idiot. If you are, your ratio won’t be accurate unless you are humble enough to count yourself.
[This idea is from Rachelle Uberecken, a Senior Software Developer at a place with a pleasantly low idiot ratio]
If you think everyone you work with is an idiot, then the idiot might be you.