Tag Archives: leadership

The Agile Team: Why Learning Beats Knowing

brand

By: Connie Blaszczyk, Managing Editor, Monster Resource Center
This article was originally posted on Monster.com and published October, 2014.

In her latest book, author and researcher Liz Wiseman presents a solid case for why, in today’s fast-changing workplace, not knowing can be more valuable than knowing.

The book’s title echoes this message: Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work. In it, Wiseman presents a case for hiring rookies — be they young or mature professionals — who embody Steve Job’s now famous commencement advice to “stay hungry; stay foolish.”

The key to creating an agile and successful team, says Wiseman, is to keep people on a learning curve, rather than a straight line. The result is a renewed, relevant and engaged workforce.
In this Monster interview, Wiseman relays how today’s top companies are doing just that.

Monster: Your book, Rookie Smarts, advocates for hiring rookies. Are you saying Millennials make the best hires?

Wiseman: No, I’m suggesting that people without experience in a particular task often make the best hires. Sometimes these people are Millennials, young and new to the workforce, but it can also be a mature professional who is pivoting from their current expertise and doing something new. We find that people are often at their very best when they are in rookie mode — doing something important and hard for the first time.

Monster: What qualities demonstrate learning agility?

Wiseman: In my research I found that the “perpetual rookies” (those with years of experience and success who retained their rookie mindset) had a number of traits in common. They were:
1) Intellectually curious
2) Humble or, perhaps better said, teachable
3) Playful
4) Deliberate
If I were hiring someone for learning agility, I would look this duality: someone with a child-like approach to their work (curious, humble, playful) but who can also be their own adult supervision.

Monster: Is learning agility crucial when recruiting for manager positions?

Wiseman: Absolutely. The best leaders are learners. They know when it is time to shift out of the mode of leadership and into a mode of learnership. Not only do they need to be able to do this for themselves, but their agility between these roles sets the tone for the entire organization’s ability to unlearn and relearn dynamically.

Click here to read the entire interview with Liz Wiseman on Monster.com.

You can also learn more about Rookie Smarts by visiting www.RookieSmarts.com.

11 Great Business Books to Read Right Now

download

By Jeff Haden
This article was originally posted on Inc.com and published October 31st, 2014.

Successful entrepreneurs and smart businesspeople follow a simple motto: always be learning.

There are many ways to go about it, but cracking open an insightful read is never a bad idea. Here’s a selection of great books on innovation, entrepreneurship, success, happiness, and even what makes different people tick. They may not all appear to be “business” books… but never forget that inspiration comes from many places.

Every entrepreneur is at some point a rookie, an upstart, an inexperienced person with a dream… and fortunately experience isn’t everything. In Rookie Smarts, Wiseman shows how rookies can outperform veterans, experience can cause us to ignore new ideas, and how sometimes the perfect person to hire is the person who doesn’t “know” everything.

To see the entire list of 11 Great Business Books to Read Right Now, please visit Inc.com.

You can also learn more about Rookie Smarts by visiting www.RookieSmarts.com.

The Traits That Lead to Success—And How to Tell Who’s Got Them

fastco

By Laura Vanderkam
This article was originally posted in Fast Company and published October 28, 2014.

“Technology changes quickly. Companies implode and people switch jobs every few years.

If 30% of information in some fields becomes obsolete in a year, how long does expertise last? says Liz Wiseman in her forthcoming book, Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work.

It’s not that expertise isn’t helpful, but success comes from constantly approaching work as a “perpetual rookie,” Wiseman writes, someone who is “living and working perpetually on a learning curve.” People who can do that will thrive. Here’s how to recognize someone who’s always in back-to-school mode:

1. THEY ASK GOOD QUESTIONS.
Rookies have the ability to see things differently than those with too much skin in the game. They can “step a layer out of something and question it,” says Wiseman.

Of course, in a job interview, people ask the questions they’re supposed to ask, which is why it’s great to meet people in other situations, like at a conference, when someone you’re talking to asks questions about your business that you’ve never thought of.

You can encourage this mindset in more veteran employees by allowing those who’ve taken new roles to spend a few weeks really talking to everyone and asking what people think. Sometimes organizations do things for good reasons. And sometimes, they’ve simply stopped asking why they do what they do.”

To see the rest of the article in it’s entirety, please click here and visit Fast Company.

You can also learn more about Rookie Smarts by visiting www.RookieSmarts.com.

It’s Time to Shake Up your Succession Planning

stl

By Liz Wiseman
This article was originally posted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and published October 28, 2014.

“Too often well-meaning managers shield their employees from change and disruption, essentially placing a do not disturb sign on the employee’s door.

While employees may seem temporarily relieved, could it be that they are actually unhappy when they are cloistered and comfortable? When is it time to disturb someone, wake them up, and lead them into a discomfort zone?

My research focused on just these questions: When are employees ready to be challenged and how much of a challenge can they actually handle? We asked approximately one thousand individuals to indicate how long it took them to:

1) Figure out their current role
2) Be ready for their next big challenge,
3) Be ready for a new role, and
4) Begin to feel stale in their current role.

In general, we found that after receiving a challenging assignment, people:
-Have figured out their role within three months
-Are ready for the next big challenge within just three months
-Are ready for a new role within one year
-Begin to feel stale within two years

When we analyzed the data by job role we found that individual contributors are the first to feel stale and the first to be ready to tackle a new challenge. Middle managers, on the other hand, report being ready for an entirely new job or role the soonest.

Given that the majority of employees are ready for a new challenge every three months and ready for a new role at one year, what can you do to prevent your workforce from getting stale?

Most organizations can’t play a perpetual game of musical chairs, moving employees into new roles every twelve months. But here are some other strategies to keep your talent in the rookie zone.

1. Design one rookie component into each job. While the majority of a role may play to the employee’s strengths and utilize their current job skills, ensure that everyone has at least one aspect of their job where they must close a significant knowledge or skill gap.”

To see the rest of the article in it’s entirety, please click here and visit The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

You can also learn more about Rookie Smarts by visiting www.RookieSmarts.com.

Entrepreneurs Thrive On The Learning Curve

Forbes-Logo

By Martin Zwilling

This article was originally posted in Forbes and published October 28, 2014.

“In today’s fast moving world of business startups, learning trumps knowing every time. What established businesses know through experience keeps them from looking for the new and innovative ways to do what they do better, cheaper, and faster. I’m convinced that’s why most mature companies are slowing down or buying their innovation through acquisition, rather than building it.

In her new book, “Rookie Smarts,” Liz Wiseman, one of the top thought leaders in business, amplifies this point as it relates to hiring and cultivating the curious, flexible, youthful mindset in keeping a mature company young and competitive, as well as keeping experienced employees more productive.

She outlines four distinct ways that business people doing something for the first time, whether they be entrepreneurs, or people in a new role in a larger company, tend to think differently than experienced veterans. With my focus on startups, I can translate very easily how her points lead to more innovation even in the entrepreneurial environment…”

To see the rest of the article in it’s entirety, please click here and visit Forbes.com.

How Rookies Stay Relevant

huffpost

By Kare Anderson

This article was originally posted in The Huffington Post and published October 20, 2014.

“What’s it take to stay relevant in work today? That often cited and disputed study made famous by Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, is based on a study that covered those whose skills required repeated practice – surgeons, violinists, and athletes — notes Rookie Smarts author Liz Wiseman. Yet, to work and live well in our rapidly evolving and connected world we must be perpetual learners not proficient repeaters of skills.
In fact, business author, Josh Kaufman, audaciously claims most careers today require about 20 hours to master.

Equally startling, several studies “show that practice accounts for only 30 percent of the variance in ability among those considered experts” discovered Wiseman.
As Wiseman notes, “Today we work in an environment where information is vast, fast and fleeting. That’s why she chose to write “about living and working perpetually on a learning curve” as a purposefully perpetual rookie who is willing to seek out fresh experiences and diverse friendships to stay relevant – with others.

As Robin Sharma once wrote, “The more you go to your limits, the more your limits will expand.”
Just as the wisdom of a diverse crowd results in smarter choices than a single expert’s judgment, Wiseman cites studies that show groups of rookies “can outperform individual experts.” For example, University of Chicago behavioral scientists found that less experienced pathologists’ aggregated findings were better at predicting a cancer patient’s survival time, based on viewing a biopsy slide than the expert pathologists’ conclusions.”

Read the rest of the article in it’s entirety on The Huffington Post.

Why Become a Perpetual Rookie?

Forbes-Logo

By Kare Anderson

This article was originally posted in Forbes and published October 17, 2014.

“What’s it take to stay relevant in work today? That often cited and disputed study made famous by Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, is based on a study that covered those whose skills required repeated practice – surgeons, violinists, and athletes — notes Rookie Smarts author Liz Wiseman. Yet, to work and live well in our rapidly evolving and connected world we must be perpetual learners not proficient repeaters of skills.
In fact, business author, Josh Kaufman, audaciously claims most careers today require about 20 hours to master.

Equally startling, several studies “show that practice accounts for only 30 percent of the variance in ability among those considered experts” discovered Wiseman.
As Wiseman notes, “Today we work in an environment where information is vast, fast and fleeting. That’s why she chose to write “about living and working perpetually on a learning curve” as a purposefully perpetual rookie who is willing to seek out fresh experiences and diverse friendships to stay relevant – with others.”

To read the rest of this article in it’s entirety, please click here and visit Forbes.com.

——————————————————————————————————

Stanford University Podcast: The Power of Not Knowing

stanford

This interview was originally posted at Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner and published October 8, 2014.

Author and leadership educator Liz Wiseman shares why cultivating a “rookie mindset” is an advantage in a rapidly changing world. Wiseman presents insights from her books, Rookie Smarts and Multipliers, including frameworks and techniques for how entrepreneurs, leaders and employees can embrace a life of constant learning and build a passion for multiplying the genius of those around them.

To listen to the podcast, please visit the Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner.

——————————————————————————————————

Why You Need Rookies On Your Team

Big Sock Little Sock

By Liz Wiseman
This is an excerpt from the Harvard Business Review and was originally published October 2, 2014.

Hiring managers often view newcomers to their organizations as not only long-term assets but also short-term burdens: people who need to be inducted, trained, and given lighter loads as they get up to speed, inevitably slowing everyone else down.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. In my research studying how inexperienced people tackle tough challenges, I’ve consistently found that rookies (whether they are freshly minted university graduates or experienced professionals coming from other organizations or functions) are surprisingly strong performers.

Because they face significant knowledge or skill gaps, they are alert, move fast, and work smart. While they’re not well-suited for tasks that require technical mastery or where a single mistake is game-ending, they are particularly adept at knowledge work that is innovative in nature, when speed matters and the environment is quickly changing. Consider science and technology, fields in which information is doubling every nine months and decaying at a rate of 30% a year, thereby rendering as much as 85% of a person’s technical knowledge irrelevant in five years’ time. For many professionals today, the ability to learn is more valuable than accumulated knowledge.

Our study found three things rookies are especially good at…
(To be concluded on the Harvard Busines Review website.)

——————————————————————————————————

To read the rest of the article in it’s entirety, please visit the Harvard Business Review website.

Three Ways Smartwatch Upstarts Can Survive the Apple-anche

Apple unveils new gadgets

By Liz Wiseman
This is an excerpt from TIME Magazine and was originally published September 10, 2014.

The little guys who were on their way up the mountain now have to fight for air.

The wearables market is technology’s latest battleground with small upstarts like Pebble and Omate, as well as early entrances from big players like LG, Samsung, and Google. Today, with their announcement of the Apple Watch, Tim Cook officially entered the race and upped the ante with Apple Pay. With Apple in the game, can a young, upstart company like Pebble, maker of the popular Pebble Steel smart watch, go the distance? Or will the small players with early leads get trampled?

In the technology world, the winners are rarely those with the best product, but rather those who have created the most ubiquitous platform. However, established companies that offer the advantage of experience often operate from a defender mentality – protecting their market leadership and brand. Small companies like Pebble offer a challenger mindset. Less tethered to existing platforms, they are free to push boundaries and explore new possibilities.

Consider the differences in how newcomers vs. veterans tend to think and act. I studied over 400 workplace scenarios inside corporations, comparing how inexperienced versus experienced professionals approach a particular type of work. My research shows that being a rookie – facing a new problem or a challenge for the first time – can provoke top performance. In knowledge work, rookies often outperform experienced players, particularly in the realm of innovation and speed.

Rookies tend to be unencumbered, with no resources to burden them and no track record to limit their thinking or aspirations. Because they face a daunting challenge, a desperation-based learning kicks in, causing them to work both hungry and smart. They reach out seeking guidance and feedback. They operate in lean, agile cycles and learn through experimentation and improvisation. While veteran players are pacing themselves for a marathon—rookies are sprinting.

Pebble CEO, Eric Migicovsky exemplifies much of this mentality that I call “rookie smarts.” When venture funding fell short of their need in 2012, he launched a Kickstarter campaign securing a record-breaking $10-million in crowdfunded cash. Migicovsky quickly ventured out of his native Ontario to scout for talent and build a network of advisors across Silicon Valley. When the company faltered from an early bet on the Blackberry platform, he quickly course-corrected and rebuilt the device to pair with Android and iPhone handsets. Through scrappy, fast, but smart action, Pebble boasts over 400,000 users. (To be concluded at TIME.com.)

——————————————————————————————————

To read the rest of the article in it’s entirety, please visit TIME.com.