Your expertise can severely hurt your performance, reports the Harvard Business Review, citing a decade-long research into top executives.
Two reasons for that: “The first is overconfidence: believing that brilliance in one area leads to competence in another. The second is when deep knowledge and experience leave leaders incurious, blinkered, and vulnerable — even in their own fields,” the author explains.
Put simply, no matter how much you’ve excelled in your field, you’re in danger of being blinded by your own expertise, unless you approach new challenges with a beginner’s mind. That’s especially vital in medical device development, given the potential repercussions of a single improvement or oversight.
Expertise Can Severely Hurt Your Performance
According to the report, you may be at risk of being blindsided by your own know-how if…
- You’ve fallen into a creative rut.
- Others seem uncomfortable challenging your assumptions and ideas.
- Market developments are beginning to take you by surprise.
- You’re unfamiliar with new technology and approaches in your industry.
- When someone asks you why you or your company does things a certain way, you shrug and think, “It’s how we’ve always done it.”
- When making decisions, you focus more on risks than opportunities.
- You find out your peers are working in ways you aren’t (e.g. Slack, Zoom, text vs email, mobile vs desktop).
- You keep proposing the same old tactics and strategies to solve new problems.
- You try to make old solutions more precise instead of pioneering new ones.
- Millennials leave your team faster than they leave other teams in your organization.
Is that you? What to do about it?
Researchers advise you start by methodically challenging your own assumptions and expertise. “To break this pattern, untether yourself from [the identity as the ‘best’ or ‘smart’], cultivate more modesty, and remind yourself of your intellectual limitations.”
Further eliminate blind spots by:
- Seeking out fresh ideas.
- Tapping new sources of talent and input.
- Looking to teammates and peers as teachers.
- Embracing experimentalism.
- Posing frequent creative challenges for yourself.
Here’s the bottom line: Rededicate yourself to learning and don’t rely on what you know today if you want success to last.