Thursday, 21 June 2012

If you love "Golden Rules" then you are a novice not an expert

One of the things people use to help make decisions is "Golden Rules" which they have accumulated over their careers. You can always tell a golden rule as it usually starts with "I always do this" or "I am never going to try that again." Unfortunately there are very few golden rules in life/business as almost all rules are conditional rather than absolute. So when you think you have a golden rule it generally means you have forgotten the conditional clause which preceded it. 

For example, "Unless I have a very specific product I am never going to use Google Adwords again" or "Where there is no good alternative I always buy Apple Products."

If you checkout the excellent Dreyfus model of skill acquisition you will see that Dreyfus defines the lowest level of skill in the 5-level progression as:
Novice: someone who operates by a "rigid adherence to taught rules or plans"  and displays "no exercise of discretionary judgment."

[It is interesting to note that some so-called "expert systems" operate totally by rules which makes them more "novice systems" than expert systems].

Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams, virtual collaboration and business simulation at