The Limitation of Experts

An expert is a specialist, authority, professional or connoisseur who has knowledge and skill and is adept at solving problems. When we go to a mechanic, a plumber or a dentist we expect that they will use their knowledge to resolve our problem. Our trust in them is based on our expectation that they can solve problems.

In organizations most people believe that maintaining the image of expert is critical to survival. When someone enters a supervisory position they often spend great energy to maintain the expert image.

When it comes to leadership and change a difficulty emerges. Change often requires an alteration in the culture. Cultural change is deep change, a shift in the collective assumption set. Cultural change cannot be led by experts with the right answers. Culture change is led by facilitators who stimulate collective learning and the co-creation of the emerging future.

Leading deep change involves abandoning expertise and authority, and walking naked into the land of uncertainty. For even the experienced change leader this is often a terrifying choice, often involving a dark night of the soul. It is therefore natural for each of us to deny that there is any need for deep change. Fortunately, making a deep change is not something we need to do every day. In today’s world of constant change, however, we need to do it more frequently than we have in the past. It is a key to turning a conventional organization positive.

Reflection

How often do I play the expert role?

How often do I play the facilitator role?

How could I use this passage to create a more positive organization

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