Simon Terry

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Expertise in the Way

Clients often say something to me along the lines of ‘I don’t want to offend you, after all, you’re the expert, but I think we might need to change this recommendation’. I am not offended. I am relieved. I can’t possibly know everything about their problem and circumstances.

Their ideas and knowledge improve mine. I am learning. We are learning together. We can’t let expertise get in the way of mastery.

The advantage of Big Learning approaches in organisations is that they break down the barriers that form around expertise. When an expert says no, trying to move forward can be hard because of both the reactions of other less expert stakeholders and because the expert has now invested ego in blocking.

Shifting the focus to gaining new external perspectives, testing ideas in practice, learning more or experimentation can be a great way to validate all opinions but judge on results. The learning from the tests will move everyone forward. Momentum is your friend.

An expert who doesn’t want to pursue mastery used to be an expert. Never let expertise get in the way of learning more through work.


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