THE AIG EXAMPLE…

Last week, Bob Lefsetz wrote about a Malcolm Gladwell speech he had found online, that used the band Fleetwood Mac to point out the flaws related to  myths about genius and success (the same found in his book “Outliers”)  http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2009/01/09/gladwell-on-fleetwood-mac/ .  “Outliers: The Story of Success” shows us that there are many factors that play into a person’s success including; where they are from, where their ancestors are from, how hard and for how long they practice, their religion, even when they are born.  When Gladwell gives his talk in the video, it is prior to the book’s release so he uses the Fleetwood Mac story to make his point about hard work and experimentation.  As Bob says in his letter, the video is worth checking out for sure.  But what really got me, was the question and answer period at the end of Malcolm’s talk.  As the moderator was wrapping up the session, Malcolm brought up AIG.

Whether it is true or not, it makes a great story (I’m too lazy to do the homework).  AIG, a company built over decades into a multi-billion dollar insurance and financial services giant is brought down by a small 600 person unit in England.  Turns out (according to Gladwell) most of these traders are in their 30’s.  So if Gladwell’s idea that we need 10,000 hours of practise to be great at something is correct…and it certainly seems to have a lot of merit… than the employees that got AIG into trouble should have never been in a position to do so in the first place.  They obviously didn’t have the experience to see what was coming and managed to ruin many people’s lives in the process. 

Gladwell brought up two words that are worth repeating…Seriousness and Integrity.  Put both of those into your business plan along with 10,000 +++ hours of training, research, study, practice, etc, and maybe you won’t end up like AIG.

Talk with you soon…

Jim

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