How Rookies Stay Relevant

By Kare Anderson

Originally Posted on The Huffington Post, 10/20/14.

"What's it take to stay relevant in work today? That often cited and disputed study made famous by Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, is based on a study that covered those whose skills required repeated practice - surgeons, violinists, and athletes -- notes Rookie Smarts author Liz Wiseman. Yet, to work and live well in our rapidly evolving and connected world we must be perpetual learners not proficient repeaters of skills.

In fact, business author, Josh Kaufman, audaciously claims most careers today require about 20 hours to master.

Equally startling, several studies "show that practice accounts for only 30 percent of the variance in ability among those considered experts" discovered Wiseman.

As Wiseman notes, "Today we work in an environment where information is vast, fast and fleeting. That's why she chose to write "about living and working perpetually on a learning curve" as a purposefully perpetual rookie who is willing to seek out fresh experiences and diverse friendships to stay relevant - with others.

As Robin Sharma once wrote, "The more you go to your limits, the more your limits will expand."

Just as the wisdom of a diverse crowd results in smarter choices than a single expert's judgment, Wiseman cites studies that show groups of rookies "can outperform individual experts." For example, University of Chicago behavioral scientists found that less experienced pathologists' aggregated findings were better at predicting a cancer patient's survival time, based on viewing a biopsy slide than the expert pathologists' conclusions."

Read the rest of the article in it's entirety on The Huffington Post.

  • “Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits. . . .An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Wiseman masterfully shows why novices can outdo veterans, expertise blinds us to fresh ideas, and the brilliance of newbies remains untapped. With sage insights and fascinating examples, Rookie Smarts is a must-read.”
    ADAM GRANT
    Wharton professor and author of Give and Take
  • “Agility, resilience, grit, and a growth mindset—these are the attributes effective leaders need in a changing world. Rookie Smarts shows leaders at every age and at every stage of their careers how to master these skills.”
    DAVE ULRICH
    University of Michigan professor and author of Leadership Sustainability
  • “If you want to be a learning machine, improving and growing every year, this is the book for you.”
    LASZLO BOCK
    SVP of People Operations, Google, Inc.