Not enough knowledge is a dangerous thing...
I had originally come across the concept of the Dunning-Kruger effect in an undergrad psychology class. It was developed by 2 psychologists in 2000 who then won the Nobel prize for codifying something we all know, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. If you’re like most people in my class, you start assigning friends and family the most interesting, overgeneralised personality and psychological disorders that you learn about in the class. As you cover more ground in the text book, everyone around you seems to pick up a serious psychological issue until you feel like you’re living in a madhouse (arguably not too far from actual reality for most of us).
On the day we learned about the Dunning-Kruger effect we read through an excerpt of their Nobel Prize winning paper, “Unskilled and Unaware” which quickly summarized goes like this: “People who are developing skills lack the awareness to critically identify and analyse their own performance resulting in an over exaggeration of their abilities and existing knowledge.” My friends and I walking around like Freud wannabes after a few classes is a great example, but how many of us have tried to learn an instrument, go to the gym regularly, improve our job performance or learn new technology, starting with high expectations only to hit a wall we can’t work our way through. In the end, performance either stalls or completely falls apart and you’re left frustrated and nowhere near your goals. On top of that, these moments seem to jump out of nowhere because we thought things were going well … until we realized they weren’t (ex. Working out or dieting for a few months and seeing absolutely no change in your weight.)
Here at BizXcel, we help our clients look at their organizations holistically from the point of view that companies are human systems. Above all else the humans driving that system must be the right people with the right skills and motivation to drive performance. When those people come up against a wall that requires personal growth and new skills to get over, they need the right processes, plans and information in place to identify and develop ways to fly over barriers. Without the organization behind their development and enablement, teams and leaders are left in the dark, spinning their wheels trying to solve problems without the right tools or knowledge. This costs resources and rewards quick fixes which address immediate issues but snowball into huge problems later on. With the rapid growth of technology and a need for high performance throughout the entire company, it’s imperative that people never become “Unskilled and Unaware” and instead have the tools, attitudes and behaviours present to continuously develop themselves and drive consistently strong performance.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing for a company, but a lot of knowledge is what makes our clients kick ass!