The 5 Powers of Experience. Do You Have Them?
You’re a novice every time you do something you’ve never done before.
Overconfidence is the painful pitfall of gullible inexperience. Pain awaits when you feel like you know but you don’t.
Experienced novices – people with a track record – know how to learn.
4 dangers of inexperience:
- Misled easily. Inexperience is blinded by unverified optimism. First-time investors get starry-eyed, for example.
- Decide quickly. Inexperience – unaware of potential pitfalls – blissfully moves forward. Naiveté believes the path forward is easy when it’s hard.
- Puff up naturally. Inexperienced novices haven’t learned that humility applies most when you succeed.
- Feel jealousy instinctively. “Why did she get promoted when I’m more qualified?” The blindness of jealousy prolongs ignorance and magnifies agony.
The danger for experienced novices is the false belief that skill in one area automatically transfers to other areas.
The perception of skill prevents development.
5 powers of experience:
- Healthy caution. Weathered captains feel a little uneasy when seas are calm. Painful past mistakes create healthy caution.
- Not knowing. Grey-hairs wonder about what they don’t know. Experienced leaders know that learning begins with not knowing. Confident ignorance is painful.
- Thick skin. Seasoned leaders understand that inexperience doesn’t understand. People judge you out of ignorance.
- Steady progress. A wrinkly brow knows reckless action hurts, and short-cuts are dead-ends.
- Respect for decisions. Toddlers don’t grasp the implications of pulling on tablecloths.
The power of experience is independent thought in the face of multiple options.
Quiet reflection is the source of independent thought.
5 questions that enable independent thought:
- What don’t I know?
- What’s important to know?
- Who has experience? (Most experienced people love to share their knowledge.)
- What might go wrong?
- Who might be impacted by this decision?
In a turbulent world, experience is a foundation for learning.
What has experience taught you?
Which of the 5 powers of experience seem most relevant to you?
Experience has taught me to seek out others who have relevant knowledge and ask focused questions. And when I receive the same input a couple times to strongly consider it.
Thanks Brad. Wonderful insight. It has taken me years to appreciate the power of inviting outsiders in. I find your idea of paying more attention to input you hear from multiple sources simple and powerful.
One item for both lists : Preparation.
Luck does indeed favor the prepared.
Novices tend to over-prepare/perfect things too far.
Expertise is in having a sense of scale and proportion, what IS material and relevant and what is probably not.
Thanks Rurbane. Your insight suggests that the ability to know what matters is part of doing what matters.
Experience taught me that I do not know everything, but I can solve problems by knowing who can help me. Also, I realized that every person around me can teach me something new every day and I can apply it to my leadership skills.
Had to learn “Respect for Decisions” the hard way – this one can be tough for novices. I thought that things “weren’t fair”, when in fact someone with more experience, perspective and insight was simply making the best decision for the organization, which may not have been the best for me. As a leader, it becomes more obvious, but until you get a few gray hairs, not so much. Thanks for this post, Dan. Sharing with some novices who will benefit greatly.