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When will uncommon sense prevail?

We often hear in the worlds of politics, economics and business the very apt lamentation about how the big problem is that common sense is unfortunately not very common. Well, a US business leader says he looks for something better — uncommon sense.

The New York Times’ Adam Bryant shone the entrepreneurial spotlight on Byron Lewis Sr. in a book he authored, called The Corner Office, which came with a snappy headline of — “Got an M.B.A.? Great, but I Prefer Uncommon Sense.”

Lewis is the chairman and chief executive of the UniWorld Group, which is an ad agency in the multicultural advertising space.

And while he always looks to hire people with common sense, he’s always on the lookout for the rare potential employee with uncommon sense.

This is “where genius comes from,” he argues, and, at the moment, this is what we need around here in Canberra and at the Reserve Bank.

Lewis says when he hires he looks for entrepreneurial drive and integrity.

In a nutshell he looks for people who are different, which he says give him the potential to drive his agency forward. That’s where uncommon sense comes in.

Experts on leadership believe the great leaders recruit other potential leaders so they lead people who one day can take the baton and possibly do an even better job.

“When you really find a leader, that person has uncommon sense,” Lewis said. “Uncommon people, in our culture, get the most traction.”

This emphasis on the “uncommon” reminded me of Bob Bloom’s book Inside Advantage, which says great businesses first know their customers like a forensic investigating profiler. Then they make their product or service into what he calls an “uncommon offering.”

Wrap all of this up with a great marketing plan and you can own the customer.

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