Ok, so you are the lead ______________ for your company. The big cheese, the super duper guy who knows everything…right? So then some newbie comes up with an idea that might solve a problem you have been dealing with for a few days/weeks/months/whatever. What do you do?
A. Ignore his idea and use your own, genetically superior idea
B. Ignore where the idea came from, pretend it is your own.
C. Accept the answer, give the newbie credit, put it in your toolbox so next time you will know it too
If you didn’t answer C, I am glad we aren’t coworkers.
Frankly any other answer blows my mind. Clearly, the people who hire a person on the top of their field will know more than most people. And it should be expected that a person 15 years of experience with some topic/product will know more than people with 1 or 2. Everyone has access to the same search engines, so they can find new ideas and act upon them. Ideally there is a review process where people that have the life experience do much of the reviewing, but still that usually goes both ways. Reviewing ideas before executing them should be done even if it is the companies chief smarty pants, if for no other reason that when people of lesser experience try to validate an “experts” ideas (or hopefully disprove the expert and win some cool points,) the worst that can happen is that someone learns something new. The best thing that can happen is a disaster is averted. And that can’t be a bad thing, right?
But going back to the “expert” role. Too often being saddled with the moniker “expert” gets mistaken for “perfect.” Unless I suddenly become perfect, and man, that ain’t happening any time soon, everyone make mistakes. In fact, I know that one of the things I am most proud of is my complete lack of competitive pride. (I am the best, baby!) To me, the key is how the person who is saddled with the title expert handles it. All to often, the gut reaction is A. “Well, you can’t be right. My idea is clearly better as it was formed from my superior intellect.” This might not be that horrible, like if the decision was where to eat lunch, but if you were the engineer who designed the Titanic, well, not good. The answer B is just evil.
Who cares if there are 2 experts at your company? Or on the planet? Competition should drive you to work harder to be better, with the final goal being everyone being better…not to harm others…