Monday, January 9, 2012


How to Categorize Human Resources

Human Resources are the most precious asset of an organisation. 

Hence, before we try to “manage” Human Resources it may be prudent to classify your employees into suitable categories based on certain attributes.

The Von Manstein Matrix is an excellent paradigm to categorize your organisation’s Human Resources, especially the Executive or Officer level employees.

General Von Manstein identified four types of officers in the German Officer Corps of the army. I think this categorisation applies to employees most organisations even today.


As per Von Manstein, the first category comprises the lazy, stupid ones. He suggests that they be left alone as they do no harm. Maybe one reason for this is that lazy and stupid people rarely do much active harm. The harm they do is more often based on missing opportunities and stifling the creativity of those who report to them. Sometimes they are the unavoidable “baggage” or “passengers” you have to carry along.


The second category comprises the hard-working, intelligent individuals. These are excellent staff officers who ensure every detail is accurate. The hardworking and intelligent lot make competent administrators and line managers who can take orders from above and deliver the desired results.


In the third category are the hard-working, stupid ones. These, hardworking “idiots”, according to Von Manstein, are a nuisance and menace and must be fired at once because they only create irrelevant work for everybody and force everyone around them to perform pointless tasks and are a pain in the neck for everyone around them.


And finally there are the lazy, intelligent ones. These select few are suited for the highest office. Laziness stimulates creativity because lazy people are always looking for easier, simpler, and less laborious ways to do things, so they try and innovate. And if a lazy person is also intelligent he or she will certainly be a fantastic and ingenious innovator. Lazy people are also natural delegators so they find it very attractive to let their subordinates get on with their work without interference from above. Lazy, intelligent employees make natural leaders as they focus on the essentials and ignore anything that might make for unnecessary work, whether for themselves or other people. It is the lazy intelligent top managers who indeed make great strategists and leaders.

Dear Reader, now you know how to reach the “top” don’t you?

Why don’t you look around your workplace and confirm the accuracy of the Von Manstein Matrix.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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Deepak Karthik said...

good readTAKES

Nitin Jain said...

Interesting analysis. Sleep to the Top :)

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Thanks Deepak. Must read TAKES

Anonymous said...

The hardworking and stupid are not only a nuisance, they are most dangerous. Before you know what, they'll open their mouths wide at the wrong time and put everyone else in a tizzy. These are usually the "keen-kumars", who are so anxious to please the boss and thereby reach the top that they will stop at nothing. As juniors you have to keep them busy. Most of the Navy's Exec Branch officers fall into this category. I quite agree with the lazy and intelligent analysis. However one good thing about these types is that they usually let you be as long as you produce the results. They also reward generously and are happy to let you be as long as their purpose is served. The hardworking and intelligent types have a habit of stifling their juniors as they know it all and can do it better and faster. They are great to have as juniors but can be a pain as seniors.