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Little Find

Open your eyes to your own blindness

Do you value your own expertise and associate it with a high level of performance? On the contrary: Expertise can cause grave slip-ups and seriously effect performance. Here’s what should you watch for.

There are three reasons why belief in your own expertise may fail you: 

  • It narrows your field of vision, meaning it is more likely you will miss out on opportunities that others will seize: Experts in new technology, for example, were convinced that the iPhone would be a failure because it didn’t have a keyboard. 
  • It pushes you to rely on your past experience. Brigadier General Matthew Broderick believed that his experience of crisis situations would help him handle the Hurricane Katrina disaster. His actions have been shown to be inadequate and have been criticized far and wide. 
  • It makes it hard to admit mistakes, which hinders your development.  

If you think you are affected by this trap, try to rediscover the mindset of a beginner. Spend more time listening to your co-workers; review your assumptions on a regular basis; expose yourself to new information; encourage your junior colleagues to present topics they feel are important; and seek out other talents to broaden your perspectives. 

To go further

Don’t Be Blinded by Your Own Expertise

by Sydney Finkelstein (Harvard Business Review, May-June 2019).

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.