Operating Principle: Train animals. Educate people.
Those “three stooges” of experienced managers can lead to very experienced managers being short-tempered & critical of others. They manifest cynical refrain about people – “Can’t find good people anymore!” They breed resentment — toward less competent and/or motivated people — particularly millennials.
Naturally talented people do not often have any idea about how they apply their talents. They have forgotten the steps to how they got here. So they have difficulties teaching novices or mentees.
Experienced people can suffer from the “legend in my own mind” syndrome, as well as amnesia about what they have learned from other people and their personal experiences. So they have difficulty being patient with other, less experienced people.
Knowledgeable people assume others know the same stuff they do. So they have difficulty teaching others.
People of high talent, lots of experience and knowledge tend to have the attitude:
No evidence will ever convince me
Of the truth that I
Don’t want to see, or accept.
If I want to improve
I must be willing
To open my doors
The antidote to the tyranny of talent, experience and knowledge is to open the four doors into the room for improvement for people by answering these four questions:
- WHY are we doing this? — Must answer the “Why” before we can proceed.
- WHAT is the job? – Explain the “What” in clear, specific behavioural terms. There is no buy-in until the “What” is clear.
- HOW — “We will set goals. Discover your blind spots. I’ll ask you to try out different behaviours. You get feedback & feedforward from others.” Resistance and incompetence grows until, and unless, people understand the “How.”
- WHAT IF — Paint the big picture – “What if you could decrease your workload by 50%? What if you could improve your relationship with your colleagues so they are actually helping you, rather than making you angry?” People have to know what the outcome looks like before going down the long and winding road.
Do you, as a manager, suffer from the tyranny of talent, experience and knowledge? Are you a legend only in your own mind? Did you know that people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Tony Hsieh of Zappos fame, all read about one book every ten days? They are committed to getting better. Are you improving or falling behind? Here are a couple of short, pithy books designed to help leaders and managers improve their influence:
Dr. Jim Sellner, PhD., DipC.