The Secret Powers in Being Inexperienced

Originally posted December 22nd, 2014 on www.FastCompany.com.

By Lisa Evans

"MANAGERS ARE LEARNING THAT HIRING FOR INEXPERIENCE COULD BE THEIR BEST INVESTMENT. HERE'S HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ROOKIE STATUS.

While years of experience is often listed at the top of job posting qualifications, leadership expert Liz Wiseman, president of The Wiseman Group, says the best candidates may be those with the least amount of expertise under their belt. In her new book Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work, Wiseman argues thatexperience can be a curse; while being the new kid on the block can be a valuable asset.

Wiseman is speaking from experience. At the age of 24, just out of business school, she was thrown into a management role. While she had no prior experience leading a team, what she lacked in experience she made up for in a willingness to learn and a desire to prove herself capable. Throughout her career, Wiseman continued to see the value in what she calls "rookie smarts."

KNOWLEDGE ISN’T ALWAYS POWER

Although experience can often bring resources, credibility, and greater powers of intuition, Wiseman says the problem with too much experience is overconfidence. That is, experience can cause us to fly through the workday on autopilot. "We think we’ve got it all figured out, so we take answers from the past and we apply them to the future, which is fine when the world is stable, but when the world is changing fast, we can be missing huge changes in the market," says Wiseman. Experience can lead to feeling complacent and comfortable to the point where we stop seeking input and feedback, which Wiseman argues is essential for growth.

ROOKIES OUTPERFORM INDIVIDUALS WITH EXPERIENCE

"Rookies tend to outperform people with experience in the knowledge industries where the work is innovative in nature," says Wiseman. While experienced workers can find their careers flatlining as they stop pushing the envelope, rookies are constantly seeking out new ways to solve problems and are focused on growth in their careers..."

To read the rest of this article in it's entirety, including 4 ways to tap into your rookie smarts, please click here, or visit www.FastCompany.com.

  • “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
  • “As a company grows, nothing is more important than retaining a culture of innovation. Rookie Smarts shows how even a big company can take risks, innovate, and operate like a challenger.”
    MARC BENIOFF
    Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com
  • “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.