28 Aug The Experience Trap: The Power of Not Knowing
Guest Blog Post By Transform 2013 Presenter, Susan Mazer
When I first heard about the experience trap, I seriously did not get it. I was struggling to use my experience to solve problems that did not exist even a decade ago. It wasn't working. Even being a good student didn't help when I went back to earn a Ph.D. a few years ago. I needed to break the paradigm in which I saw the world so a new one could form.
Creative new solutions do not come from experience. They come from the wanderlust of curiosity mixed together with skills that can be used in new ways, and a willingness to let go of how we did things in the past. Because my initial and most profound experiences in learning were with my music, I always come back to my musical journey to understand how to embrace new ideas.
The way I was taught to play the classical harp was strict, measured, and unforgiving. When I moved into jazz and pop, there were no rules, and my well learned technique did not result in what I wanted to achieve. Being handed a right and wrong way to do anything and a long tradition to justify the "right way," makes defining success and failure easy. However, rejecting both the right and wrong of a highly structured paradigm does the opposite. Success and failure become ambiguous until a new paradigm is established.
A new idea is scary, and, if actually new, it runs counter to established practices.
So, if you want to set a new standard of excellence or implement new ideas at your company, toss your own operating manuals, job descriptions, and model planes.
Some things to consider:
1. If an new idea is put forth that begs few questions, it is either not new or is so new that no one knows what to ask
2. If a strategic plan looks achievable, it is not strategic enough
3. If you are going to achieve the impossible, then it must feel impossible
4. Learn from the past and then let it go -- or revisit, because sometimes ideas that didn't work in the past may work now
In my company, we do strategic planning by breaking up into multidisciplinary groups, with each group considering aspects of the business that perhaps only one person in the group is involved with. The power of not knowing always results in different kinds of inquiries and suggestions.
Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D.
President, CEO, & Co-Founder
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Healing HealthCare Systems, Inc.
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