Michael Dell, entrepreneur and founder of Dell, once made the astute point, “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people…or find a different room.”
I sat in our conference room at work today and watched this incredible team I am part of dissect what it is we do and more importantly, where it is we are going. Strategic planning and visioning for the future can be boring, and yet – not so much with these people. Most days I am lucky if I can just keep up. I surveyed the crowd and realized – then said aloud – that this team and its level of talent amazes me so much that I fear I might be bringing the average IQ down. I did not mean that as an insult to myself – I have plenty of confidence about my own intellect – but I am telling you, these people are good.
The Behavioral Health Division is so frequently misunderstood it baffles me. It is one of those things about working there that I’ve never gotten accustomed to. There has been plenty of bad press over the years, some of it deserved and most of it not. But if I could tell people one thing from an inside view that I am certain those on the outside don’t fully understand, it is how smart the people who work there are. They read, they research, they do literature reviews, the analyze data, they study/understand/employ evidence-based practices, they make decisions based on a delicate balance of science and compassion, and – to give a nod to yesterday’s blog – they can solve a problem (or a thousand) like a motherfucker.
I left work today depleted, exhausted beyond belief and recognizing that is my absolute privilege to work on this most remarkable team. Working there has with absolute certainty made me smarter, stronger, better.
I love not being the smartest person in the room. I hope it is always that way.