255. Age, Ambition and Secret Knowledge

He used to be a fac­tory man­ager. They booted him out, “too old” at 40. Some­one with an MBA said he wasn’t fol­low­ing best prac­tice. Best prac­tice was what a text book said it was, appar­ently. Actu­ally it wasn’t. The book writer had never worked in a fac­tory. The too-old-at-40 fac­tory man­ager had started on the shop floor. He knew what worked, and his staff knew that he knew. They were a team. The ambi­tious new MBA fac­tory man­ager talked a lot about teams, but he didn’t know about fac­to­ries, and his staff knew that he didn’t know. He was in trou­ble, the fac­tory was in trou­ble. He had to lie about both of those things because he was ambi­tious. If you are ambi­tious you can’t share what you know and don’t know. You can’t give your per­sonal com­pe­ti­tion any advan­tage. The too-old-at-40 ex-fac­tory man­ager looked into his beer sadly. He had always shared his knowl­edge. That’s why he had a work­ing team. That’s why he was now an ex- . Some­thing was crazy in the world. This is a true story.

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