When is not knowing more valuable than knowing? When does experience become a burden? Why are you often at your best when you are new to an undertaking, doing something for the first time?

Why Rookies Trump Veterans In The New Game Of Work

As work cycles spin faster and faster, professionals are faced with never before seen challenges and territory that is uncharted. As work cycles accelerate so must our learning capacity. Today's shifting work demands are forcing us to approach work, no matter your age, as if we were a rookie.

Liz Wiseman, author of Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing In The New Game Of Work, believes that a rookie mindset will be an imperative skill-set for any future professionals.

Related Read: What Everybody Ought To Know About The Myth Of Experience

Liz and a team of researchers studied approximately 400 workplace scenarios, comparing how rookies versus veterans tackled work assignments. They analyzed the data by performance level, looking for the key differentiators between how rookies and veterans approached their work, and the situations under which they excelled. They defined a rookie as someone who had never done that type of work and a veteran as someone who had previous experience with that type of work, both regardless of their age. Below are their findings.

Reasons Why Rookies Trump Veterans In The New Game of Work

  • Rookies listen more and learn faster
  • Rookies bite off smaller pieces of work.
  • Rookies are 4x more likely than veterans to ask for help.
  • Rookies inject a spirit of fun into everything they do at work.
  • Rookies work cautiously and minimize risk by frequently checking in with stakeholders.
  • Rookies have significantly higher levels of self-awareness than veterans.
  • Rookies tend to deliver more timely solutions despite having a steeper learning curve.
  • Rookies are more attuned to politics, although veterans possess greater political savvy.
  • Rookies seek out expertise 40% more often than veterans.
  • Rookies are 2x more likely than veterans to believe that they had something to learn
  • Rookies are 12% more likely than veterans to persist in the face of failure.
  • Rookies were 40% more likely than veterans to work harder and put in longer hours in response to pressure or scrutiny. (Veterans were 30% more likely to feel debilitating or significant pressure not to fail.)

While these findings are not age dependent, I believe it's safe to say that many Millennials operate like a rookie because of their lack of experience and due to the perpetual beta culture they grew up in. If leaders decide to ignore these rookies and the unique perspectives and hustle that they bring, they may find themselves and their teams left behind.

Related Read: Reverse Your Stagnation With Reverse Mentoring

For those veterans with valuable experience, Liz encourages you to renew your mind and your skills and combine your hard-won wisdom and experience with the naive brilliance and vitality of a rookie. And instead of filling up "empty" Millennial newcomers with company information, treat them as "full" and ready to contribute with their rookie smarts.

Question: How will you spark a rookie mindset?


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