Adopting a “Rookie Smarts” Mindset

I was just a year in to a new position as an instructional coach when our superintendent suggested our leadership team read the book Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work by Liz Wiseman. This book became a game-changer in how I approached my new coaching position.

Like many coaches I have talked to, I found myself in this position because I was a strong teacher in the classroom, but I didn’t necessarily have much experience with actual coaching. My initial tendency was to come in playing up the bit of coaching experience that I did have, but then I read this book. And this question that Wiseman poses just kept coming up: How does what we know get in the way of what we don’t know but perhaps need to learn?

In this Talks at Google, Wiseman explores these additional questions: Is there power in not knowing how to do something? Can being inexperienced actually be an advantage and can it be an advantage right now when the world of work is changing so fast? Talks at Google published this about Wiseman and Rookie Smarts: “In Rookie Smarts, Liz Wiseman explains why this new mindset is necessary to succeed. By virtue of being new to something, rookies are unencumbered, with no baggage to weigh them down, no resources to burden them, and no track record to artificially limit their thinking or aspirations. They have a coarseness that puts them in a state of porous openness and a productive anxiety that drives them to establish themselves as players and peers. Her research has shown that the most successful rookies are alert and seeking (like hunters and gathers), cautious but quick (like hot coal walkers), and fearless (like frontiersmen).”

I highly recommend this talk and Wiseman’s book if you are newer in a position or if you need to spark some new life into a role you have held for awhile. Notice your resilience boosting as you become a learner again.

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