"Divido i miei Ufficiali in quattro categorie: gli intelligenti, gli stupidi, i volenterosi ed i pigri.
Ogni Ufficiale possiede almeno due di queste qualità.
Quelli che sono intelligenti e volenterosi sono idonei ad alti incarichi nello Stato Maggiore.
Si possono impiegare anche gli stupidi ed i pigri.
L’uomo che è ad un tempo intelligente e pigro è idoneo alla più alta funzione di comando: ha il temperamento ed il sangue freddo indispensabile per far fronte a tutte le circostanze.
Ma chi sia contemporaneamente stupido e volenteroso costituisce un grave pericolo e deve essere immediatamente destituito."
That would be Gen. Helmuth von Moltke, who from 1858 until 1888 was chief of the German General Staff, which under his leadership, would become the model for all modern armies.
According to historical legend, von Moltke divided his entire German officer corps into one of four distinct categories: the mentally dull and the physically lazy, the mentally dull and the physically energetic, the mentally bright and the physically energetic and the mentally bright and the physically lazy.
Those identified as the mentally dull and physically lazy were obviously not on the fast track to promotion to the general staff or anyplace else. Still, there are in life repetitive and unchallenging tasks that need to be performed that members of this sub-group can usefully discharge.
The single most dangerous von Moltke type in any organization, military or civilian, is the mentally dull and physically energetic. Here is found the hapless but tireless individual who, having fouled up three assignments long before lunch, cheerfully searches for new mistakes to make. He requires constant adult supervision and is not a candidate for retention, let alone promotion.
The mentally bright and physically energetic officer was destined not to become a commanding officer of the German General Staff, but instead to be a staff officer. According to military scholar Dennis Showalter, professor of history at Colorado College and visiting professor at West Point and the Air Force Academy, this type is "bright enough to see the fourth side of any three-sided problem … manifestly smart but with an irresistible inclination to micromanage."
All of this leaves the mentally bright and the physically lazy for promotion to the general staff and a position of ultimate command. Here is the officer who is mentally bright enough to determine exactly what must be done and yet lazy enough to figure out the easiest, least complicated way to do it. By definition, this type does not immerse himself in details. He is able to delegate.