We all know someone at work who is literally the smartest person in the room regardless of what room they walk into. The mind’s of these brilliant individuals are constantly going 100 mph and are typically filled with complex technical parameters and novel solutions to problems the rest of us didn’t even know existed. Having a Ferrari Brains on a work team, however, can be as challenging as it is beneficial.
A common issue that managers face is figuring out how to let a Ferrari Brain try to set a new lap time and when that brain should instead serve as a pace car. These intelligent individuals assume that others are keeping pace with their electrifying intellect when most people are just starting their engines. So what do you do?
My advice is to have a private conversation with this individual and use this exact metaphor to explain your dilemma, especially if their coworkers are complaining about their lack of social skills. You clearly don’t want to ask the Ferrari Brain to “get out of their car,” so to speak, but it is acceptable to ask them to “pump the brakes” once in a while.
If you want your team to function like a well oiled engine, and you want to avoid unnecessary conflicts between Ford and Ferrari Brains, it’s a good idea to check in periodically with the people who will set the pace of innovation.