Don’t be afraid of lack of experience, Liz Wiseman and Steve Rockwood say at RootsTech’s Innovator Summit

By Lottie Peterson Johnson
Originally Posted on
February 8th, 2017


SALT LAKE CITY — When Liz Wiseman was 24, she was asked to take on a job most people her age would quickly turn down because of lack of experience and confidence.

Only a year out of business school, Wiseman was asked to build a corporate university for Oracle, an online management training service. Her only qualification was that she “had recently been at a university,” Wiseman said during the 2017 RootsTech Innovator Summit opening session on Wednesday in the Salt Palace.

She faced many incredulous stares and skepticism when she took on the role. But she countered the prevalent disbelief with this assertion: “Who wants a job that you’re qualified for? There’d be absolutely nothing to learn.”

Wiseman, who is president of The Wiseman Group and author of “Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work,” shared during the Innovator Summit some of her research and counsel about how being in a rookie frame of mind can actually lead to more success and satisfaction.

“Are we actually at our very best when we know the very least?” Wiseman asked her audience members to consider.

She explained how she showed up every week at all the staff meetings, constantly asking questions so she could figure out what she needed to do to run Oracle University.

“It was my naiveté that forced me to deliver fast,” she said.

The beauty of taking on tasks and responsibilities with a rookie mindset is that it leads to operating in ways that are simple, but incredibly powerful, Wiseman said. Although being an expert is the goal to aspire to in the professional world, it also comes with serious liabilities, she said.

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