April 05, 2011
The Trouble With Experts

Arrogance.gif

When somebody asks if you can do something, pause for a moment before saying "NO." Your first thought may be "that's impossible," but upon reflection you can probably figure out how to pull it off.

Indeed, there is a very good chance that what you are being asked to do is not what is really needed, anyway.

Think about it. We usually evaluate what we can contribute to a situation by imagining that there is someone else who really has the required expertise -- and then we interpret our feelings of uncertainty as proof that we are inadequate compared to this all-knowing other (who, by the way, is going through the exact same drill with someone else.)

Sound familiar?

In reality, our uncertainty (and the humility that, hopefully, accompanies it), are the essential elements of what we really bring to the table -- a curiosity about "the situation" -- and an open mindset that helps us listen to multiple points of view without being ruled by preconceived ideas and solutions.

Being curious enough to arrive at a deep understanding of what the problem really consists of is a much more valuable contribution than a knee-jerk offering of a so-called "solution."

detective.jpg

The two main problems with high levels of expertise?

1. When all you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

2. If you need to be seen as an expert, you'll have very little opportunity to learn anything.

-- Barry Gruenberg

Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at April 5, 2011 03:53 AM

Comments

Barry, so true, especially the last point about continuing to learn. I remember working with a martial arts master on several books. He told me that one of the unforseen consequences of attaining the recognized status as "master" was that no one wanted to teach him any longer. He was quite accomplished, but knew his own learning had to evolve. He finally found another master to work with on mutual learning.

Posted by: David Sollars [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2011 07:45 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Webinars Powered by
Idea Champions University

Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.

Visit IdeaChampionsUniversity.com to find out more.
Our New Book

If you want to know when Mitch Ditkoff's new book, "Wisdom at Work", will be published, enter your email address.

Your Email address:
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
See Mitch's keynote address Enjoy a 7-minute interview with Mitch at the Ethical Sourcing Forum in NYC: 3/28/11
Featured in Alltop Guy Kawasaki's Alltop "online magazine rack" has recognized Idea Champions' blog as one of the leading innovation blogs on the web. Check out The Heart of Innovation, and subscribe!
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN

Breakthrough Cafe.
A totally unique brainstorming salon. Great food. Great food for thought. Great people. Collaborate, have fun, get out of the box.

"Inno-waiters With Whine Lists" – The Breakthrough Cafe featured in January 2006 issue of
© IDEA CHAMPIONS