Skip to content

Paul Rulkens – How Do We Lead And Manage Smart People?

High performance culture expert Paul Rulkens returns to the Cold Star Project, and this time we’re discussing how to manage smart people. In “brain” organizations, people have strong opinions and they’re often right. So how do you lead these intelligent, educated and strong willed people to achieve great results?

Paul Rulkens on Managing Intelligent Employees

Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan asks Agrippa Consulting founder Paul Rulkens:

  • What does “High Performance Culture” mean from Paul Rulkens’ perspective?
  • How do you know when you have it / what’s the target to be aiming for?
  • What does a “success environment” really mean? (is your performance management geared towards accelerating the best, or is it designed to gradually improve the average? This distinction is the secret to creating outliers.)
  • Regarding managing smart people… What % would you typically find “smart people” in organizations?
  • Is it the same as “high performers”?  “Only small chunks of your own time matter”–let’s discuss.
  • What about people who will say something like, “I line up my tasks and appointments so that I have maximum impact every moment I can? Surely larger amounts of my time and attention matter more than that!”
  • Assuming we have an 80/20 Rule application here (maybe it’s more like 98/2) how do we apply this as leaders of smart people? What circumstances demonstrate this concept?
  • When you don’t know as much about the subject matter as the smart people around you, what should you do?
  • How can you pull the best out of your smart team?
  • As the leader, how can you add value to verify the smart people on the team are thinking accurately?
  • What are your three platinum questions when you lack knowledge of any subject matter, and how do you use them?
  • If you’re not a subject matter expert, what can you coach your team on? What else can you do?
  • Smart people often disagree. What should you do as a leader if your team has disagreements?
  • Regarding Succession planning with smart individuals, what are the 5 actions you can take when important people leave?



Past appearance of Paul Rulkens on the Cold Star Project:

Paul Rulkens website:

OpEx Society:

Talk to Cold Star:


The episodes listed on this site are not the entire playlist! Click for the complete video and audio versions.

Published inInterview
Skip to content