Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rookies v experience

Liz Wiseman has an interesting post on the different approaches to coaching a rookie and coaching an experienced hand.

My first reaction: fall back to situational leadership
  • S1: be directive with the rookie
  • S4: be delegating to the experienced hand
But, Wiseman says: No so fast. There's bit more to it.
"Experienced professionals have deep knowledge, credibility, and confidence. But their knowledge can interfere with their learning. They can miss important shifts in the market simply because the telltale signs don’t fit nicely within their models. Having seen the patterns, they can easily overlook errors or dismiss aberrant results. They also receive little feedback because they’re performing relatively well and others assume they’ll figure out how to improve the less-than-effective portions of their work on their own."
She goes on:
" ....rookies tend to outperform experienced staff in innovation and speed. But, they necessitate very different coaching styles. For example, your inexperienced people need support to channel their efforts, while your more experienced team might need encouragement to get out of a rut. "
The rest of her post are some specific practices for handling each situation. Good stuff; have a read.

Certainly, we've all experienced the rookie disrupter; that's the fuel of technology innovation. And, then there are the experts steeped in their field. Not to trash experience, because it's certainly of great value, and overall lower risk. If I'm a PM guy with a budget and a mission, I'm going to take experience every time.

But sometimes harnessing experience to the innovation business model is something else: one has to wonder what IBM and Microsoft get from their $5B+ annually, each, in research. Perhaps AI and natural language speech recognition really are around the corner, or better yet: quantum computing.

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