I spent 9 years in the military and out of everything I did, nothing was more dangerous than somebody who is unaware of their own unworkability.
Part of my job in the military was mountain technical rescue. In training for the job, we would practice rock climbing and rappelling. Once there was a younger member of our team confidently setting up ropes used to lower patients over the side of a cliff and off the mountain. After this younger team member confidently completed setting up, the team did safety checks. We found a half dozen possible fatal problems in how the ropes were set up.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a psychological term where an individual is unaware of the breakdowns that they cause for themselves and others. It’s a blind spot.
“Incompetent people do not recognize, cannot recognize, just how incompetent they are. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight. For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack.”
When implementing a new business strategy or starting an enterprise initiative, there are always a lot of unknowns, more so now with the dramatic changes that the world has gone through in the last few years. It might be easy to point out others who display the Dunning-Kruger effect, but what we must keep in mind is that everybody (including you and I) have blind spots.
So how can you best mitigate falling into a Dunning-Kruger trap?
Be open to Advice or Criticism. Both open up the possibility that you just might not have the answer to all of life’s questions. And as the old adage says, two heads are better than one.
Knowledge is a tool. It’s believed that those with a broad background of experience and knowledge may help in revealing any Dunning-Kruger traps before stepping into them, or at least catch themselves when they have.
Those on my rescue team with a broader amount of experience had a more reasonable grasp of what they could and could not do safely. The dangerous ones blissfully went about creating death traps, totally unaware of their lack of skill.
In your business strategies or enterprise initiatives, what might you be obliviously stumbling toward? I invite you to take a step back and shine some light on those areas that may be hiding a Dunning-Kruger trap.