According to George Bernard Shaw, “Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.”. He is a 1925 Nobel Prize winner for Literature, 1856-1950. It seems that scientific research has now caught on to Shaw, as J. Robert Baum of the University of Maryland has found practical intelligence to be an indicator of likely entrepreneurial success.
Baum, Director of Entrepreneurship Research, defines practical intelligence as "an experience-based accumulation of skills and explicit knowledge as well as the ability to apply that knowledge to solve every day problems". Practical Intelligence, in my view, is therefore a synonym for common sense. It's important to note that Science Daily refers to it as know-how i.e expertise; do you agree?
The research found that when combined with sound market choices and personality, both employment and sales levels were improved for entrepreneurs' organizations whose common sense levels were assessed to be higher.
Upon reading highlights of "Dissecting practical intelligence theory: Its claims and evidence Intelligence, Vol. 31, No. 4. ( 2003), pp. 343-397" by Linda S. Gottfredson I realized that not only is more research required but existing bodies of work on practical intelligence a.k.a common sense ought to be communicated in a manner that embraces a robust discussion among the scientists, practitioners and young researchers alike. Common Sense-research is thought by some to be limited and un-imperical in comparison with the vast body of work on academic intelligence.
That being said, let's apply the two types of intelligence, academic (book smarts) and practical (common sense or street smarts) and see where it leads us in the world of an entrepreneur.
If you believe, like I do, in CEFE's (www.cefe.net) Personal Entrpreneurship Characteristics (PECS), then you will see power in an individual who:
1) Shows initiative
2) Is aware of opportunities and takes advantages of them
3) Is perseverant
4) Searches for information
5) Is aware of the importance of high-quality work
6) Knows the importance of fulfilling tasks
7) Is efficiency-oriented
8) Is objective-oriented
9) Makes systematic planning
10) Looks for solutions for problems
11) Is assertive
12) Is self-confident
13) Is persuasive
14) Uses strategies to influence people
15) Monitors goals, achievements and performances
16) Is aware of the importance of financial information.
This lies in contrast to the successful academic's key characteristics found in random sources to be one who:
1) Is systematic
2) Is reductive
3) Is logical and critical
4) Is repetitive (able to repeat activities until reaching a logically determined point)
4) Appreciates generative research (will willingly follow and accept that one research's results will lead to yet another).
The Business Works Business Blog housed at http://thebusinessadvisors.typepad.com/ has received queries for advice which include a request for suggestions such as:
a) taking a decision to buy new delivery trucks rather than lease from the owner's spouse's brother and
b) taking a decision to reduce the operating hours of a successful business in order to spend more time at home with a new step child.
What are the essential qualities required to choose the best option for these entrepreneur's business decisions?
Are these relevant issues? How impactful are they?