How to Transcend and Ignore the Rules

Posted by Michael Hartzell on Tue, Oct 12, 2010

Knowledge Empowers so Learn & Teach TM

On the other hand, caution and awareness are needed before you begin to apply the mantra.  Each person has their own take on the world, their expertise level and how they learn.

Take, for instance, the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition that Seth Godin recently mentioned in his blog.  The model proposes that a student passes through five distinct stages: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.

Dreyfus model of skill acquisition

1. Novice
  • "rigid adherence to taught rules or plans"
  • no exercise of "discretionary judgment"
2. Advanced beginner
  • limited "situational perception"
  • all aspects of work treated separately with equal importance
3. Competent
  • "coping with crowdedness" (multiple activities, accumulation of information)
  • some perception of actions in relation to goals
  • deliberate planning
  • formulates routines
4. Proficient
  • holistic view of situation
  • prioritizes importance of aspects
  • "perceives deviations from the normal pattern"
  • employs maxims for guidance, with meanings that adapt to the situation at hand
5. Expert
  • transcends reliance on rules, guidelines, and maxims
  • "intuitive grasp of situations based on deep, tacit understanding"
  • has "vision of what is possible"
  • uses "analytical approaches" in new situations or in case of problems

Source: Wikipedia

An expert no longer relies on rules and procedures and transcends the guidelines.

There is a conflict and confusion for person who believes they are an expert but are, in reality, a novice.  About the time you begin to teach someone the rules and procedures, they are thinking:  "I am an expert and the rules don't apply to me.", applying the mantra "Knowledge empowers so learn and teach" becomes  difficult.

Everyone is an expert at something:  You are an expert at something where the rules do not apply.  You are able to get things done in such a way that will leave others in your dust.  (Don't brag about it.)

Here is where confusion begins:  when you take on something new that you are not very familiar with, your feeling of being an expert overlaps into the area where you are but a novice and you believe the rules do not apply.

Until you are able to be the expert; following the rules is part of the learning process.  When teaching another, be aware of the student's expertise AND be very aware of what they believe their expertise might be.

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