Drawing on the latest thinking from the Future of Work (FOW), agile, neuroscience and Human Centred Design (HCD).

Our expertise is a blessing and a curse

Think about your expertise:

  • ·You’ve spent years building it, you get paid for it, you are rewarded for it, people seek you out for it.

  • It probably defines you.

  • And yet it can limit you. What a paradox!

When working in agile environments fraught with uncertainty, embracing a beginner’s mindset serves us well. This doesn’t mean we disregard our hard-earned expertise.

The 'beginner’s mindset' is a term borrowed from Human Centred Design.

Because we are conditioned to solve problems with our expertise, it’s not easy to suspend judgement.

So ‘suspending’ (I like that word ‘suspending’ because it implies you don’t have to discard your expertise) is about finding out more about the problem first to define it, to understand it from many perspectives before we explore more possibilities…or solutions.

A beginner’s mindset helps us take a step back. It

  • Prompts us to be courageously curious and ask more questions The superpower here is CURIOSITY

  • Signals that we don’t know all the answers The superpower here is VULNERABILITY

  • Shows respect for different thinking and new ideas The superpower here is EMPATHY

Having a beginner’s mindset is to come from a place of genuine curiosity, not expertise or judgement.

The art is to balance our expertise with the beginner’s mindset.

Agility needs people with a beginner’s mindset.

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