By First Round Review
Originally published February 9th, 2015 in Fast Company.
"In 1989, Liz Wiseman took her first job out of business school at a mid-size startup called Oracle. With no previous experience, she was recruited as a technical trainer, charged with teaching programming to all of the company's new engineering recruits. She admits she barely knew what the company did, much less how to teach engineers. A year later, she was promoted to manage the training department and make CEO Larry Ellison's vision for what he called "Oracle University" a reality. She was 24.
"I really didn't know what I was doing. All I knew was that this was a grown-up job and I wasn't quite grown up yet, but no one seemed to be bothered by that but me," says Wiseman. It was scary then, but looking back, she sees clearly how being a rookie made her an ideal candidate for the blue-sky project. "My real value didn't come from having fresh ideas. It was having no ideas at all. When you know nothing you're forced to create something."
Little did she know that she'd spend the next 17 years leading the University effort and Oracle's global human resources. Since then, Wiseman has written three books about what makes people effective as employees and leaders, and has conducted extensive research on how management can maximize performance inside organizations. Now president of the Wiseman Group, training executives around the world, she recently spoke at Stanford's Entrepreneurship Corner and shared her findings about the advantages of the rookie mindset, how knowing too much can be dangerous for innovation, and what leaders can do to help everyone around them achieve their potential..."
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