I originally saw this formulated as “There are four kind of officers: smart and energetic, smart and lazy, stupid and lazy, and stupid and energetic. You can work with the first three, the fourth is always an unmitigated disaster.”
That’s probably off by a word or two, but it’s fairly close.
For those unfamiliar, it goes like this: officers are either stupid or brilliant; and either lazy or energetic. Brilliant, lazy officers should be sent to the field; they are best at winning as efficiently as possible. Brilliant, energetic officers get Staff positions; they are the best at planning campaigns. Stupid, lazy officers get handed the dull, boring, yet easy/straightforward jobs; they’ll just do them and not cause you any trouble. GET RID OF ALL OF YOUR STUPID, ENERGETIC OFFICERS IMMEDIATELY. They’re usually a major factor in military defeats
I ran into the first, shorter version in a series of five books called The General, by S. M. Stirling and David Drake, I’ve always remembered, I’ve found it to be a very true rule about people in general — but I’ve never really run into anyone else who’s ever mentioned it. So thank you so very much for making my day Mr. Lane!! 🙂