Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Intelligence vs Wisdom - Knowing The Difference

Understanding The Difference Is Critical In Marketing

By David Miranda

A wise person once asked me if I knew the difference between ignorance and stupidity. After a weak attempt at an answer, he replied, "ignorance means you don't know, stupidity means you'll never know". I haven't been ignorant of the difference since. This is wisdom.

I have recently asked myself a different question, particularly as it applies to the discipline of marketing. The question is "What is the difference between intelligence and wisdom?" Often the terms are used interchangeably and without much thought.

When this does happen, it can have dire consequences.

Mark Twain once said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

The marketing discipline is blessed to have many intelligent people in the field measured by academic credentials and IQ. Intelligence is generally judged by one's ability to solve problems - to find solutions. Intelligence, however, has a dark side - arrogance, i.e. that because the problem was solved or a solution found by an intelligent person using an intelligent process, it must be the best solution available. Not!

Intelligence should be tempered with experience - from you or others. This is called wisdom, as in, "This seems like the right way to go, but conventional wisdom says we should dig a little deeper, think a little harder, kick the tires a little more." Wisdom should not be confused with caution, since the best friend of an intelligent solution is devil's advocacy. A wise decision will generally pass muster with both supporters and critics. Wise decisions stand the tests of time and scrutiny.

All marketers think they make intelligent decisions. The best, however, make wise decisions.

Next time you have to make a key decision, ask yourself this question "Is this wise?"

Wise up!