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All my life I have experienced the constant battle between the two camps…which one is better? I believe that neither is better than the other and depending on the situation I think that it is important that we have a blend of both. In my personal experience I rely on both and it has really helped me to make things happen very fast in my life. I believe that to make things happen especially these days most businesses need to harmonize with Street and Book Smarts to make things happen. Before we get into how they harmonize with each other lets define each with their unique values.
What are street smart?
Dictionary.com defines it as “A shrewd awareness of how to survive in any situation.” I like to take it further as practical intelligence back up with real life experience people that are pure academics generally hate this because they take it as a slam. I think this is because to leverage street smarts you rarely use lots of information to come to a solution it is based in intuition and action. If you are an academic just think of it as a different way to achieve a result.
What are book smarts?
People with book smarts understand that information is power and they process lots of information to come to up with a solution. They can be fundamentally grounded in their role or roles and you can really rely on them. Most solutions that they come up with are taking from a fundamental business models that they researched or created that they are leveraging to minimize risk. Note: If you are an academic dealing with people with Street Smarts let them understand their role and limit the amount of information that they process. They can process lots of information but the more they do they get stuck because they feel compelled to take action on what they are learning. Speaking from personal experience when I am asked to do this I get destructive to the project. When I am in balance I catch it early and stay in my creative role and trust that the project manager that I picked can manage the big picture.
Book and Street Smarts in Harmony in the real world
When you or your team combine the two it can be very powerful. One of the models that I like to use is Thomas Edison who only had 3 months of schooling and was able to leverage the minds of many academic to create lots of American inventions. By the end of his life Edison had registered 1093 patents and had made millions from his inventions and the businesses he built on them.
We just went through the information age and this time unlike any time in history we can harness information in moments that would have taken years a short time ago. I am always asked the question, how do we decipher between good and bad information? For me it all comes down to emotional intelligence which is a harmony of the two applied in a suitable situation.
Today’s Business Models need to be “to lean to fail.” The old business models are crumbling and the new business models are slowly dying. And the answer is creating a NEW NEW business model which is creating a solid brand like the companies of old with a collapsing structure to evolve with the changing times. The reason why I am saying this is I believe there is no better way to create this without the fusion of Street Smarts and Book Smarts.
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