Having lots of good work experience looks great on paper, but knowledge and experience come with side effects. Luckily, innovative professionals know how to avoid the undesirable effects of experience. I will elaborate.
Work experience gives professionals a blind side. In other words, it’s hard for a manager with 25-years of experience to learn new strategies or insights about processes and procedures he believes he has mastered—or at least has been doing over and over for 25 years.
But there is more. Institutional and field knowledge can make things worse for experienced professionals. Why? Because they tend to be also a victim of the curse of knowledge. “What’s the curse of knowledge?” you may ask.
Professionals with the curse of knowledge normalize or downplay their knowledge to the point that they believe everyone should know what they know or believe what they believe. American author Chip Heath says when you have the curse of knowledge, “it is impossible to imagine what it’s like to lack that knowledge.”
The worse problems? Having lots of good work experience and knowledge but not having the ability to communicate and apply it effectively to innovate is a significant hindrance. Peter Thiel, author of Zero to One, said, “Today’s ‘best practices’ lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.”
Getting stuck in the past or in one’s experience gets in the way of progress, growth, and innovation. It causes stagnation because, as Peter Drucker would argue, knowledge and good work experience alone can’t lead to concrete results and achievements. But effectiveness can.
How are you building expertise?
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