The saying, “You don’t know, what you don’t know” sounds
like gibberish but is rather insightful.
However, this simple statement contains an inherent danger
for us. The trap is that when we don’t know something, we
tend to oversimplify it. Take golf and Tiger Woods as an
If you watch Tiger Woods hit 18 tee shots on a Sunday
afternoon, there is a tendency to say, “What’s so hard
about that?” What you don’t see is the thousands of
practice swings he executes every month to make those 18
shots on Sunday look effortless.
HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: To watch an expert do something, is
to observe the simple acts of mastery of a subject or
craft that took years to perfect. The mistake that we
make in watching a master is to assume that we know far
more about something that is often far more complex than
we ever imagined.
Part of this oversimplification on our part can be
attributed to the fact that search engines have brought
the world of knowledge to us. We Google something and
think that we have fully grasped the nuances of a subject
like Marketing, Employment Law, Negotiating, etc. because
we have searched a few dozen websites on the topic.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Outliers: The Story of
Success,” states that it takes about 10,000 hours of work
or study in a given discipline for someone to be so
accomplished that he/she “makes it look easy.”
The next time you are faced with a business decision that
“looks easy” and you are tempted to go it alone or Google
an answer, think twice and consider calling a specialist.