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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Re: Experting


An additional thought via conversation w/ friend...

"Perhaps the most troubling thing about the attack on expertise is that it increases the number of those who are satisfied with where they are. These are the folks who you hear saying, 'Yes, I know there's a better way to do marriage/career/behavior but I find that I am getting by just fine.' These people have decided that its good enough to not suck. Excellence is not a desire of these people. "

I do not believe that the decentralizing of information or the perceived ease of experting should lead to a lack of desire for excellence. Rather it should point to our need for others' input as we consider what it means to be great. That said, when was the last time you enjoyed someone telling you that they think your marriage needs a tune-up or that you should go to therapy? When was the last time that you humbly accepted a kick in the patooty to improve your character? How often do we invite opinions, theologies, or practices of those outside our circles? It is rare that we posses this posture of editablity. Today's experts will have this posture and will invite peer edits rather than continuing with the individualistic stubborness brought on by the modern ideal of keeping your nose to the grind stone.

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Derrick Fudge said...

Interesting idea on the loss of the expert. I would join you in disagreeing with your friend. I think there is a loss of tradition systems of expertise, and there are many young people who don't learn from their elders or listen very well, but I think that is a correlation, not a causation.

I am also curious how important good feedback is to leaders. Like you said, it is rare when we ever like the feedback that is most important to us. But maybe the really successful leaders are the ones who somehow hear the feedback they need to hear.

Jordan Lane Shappell said...

this probably isnt the intent of the blog, but this is what i was thinking.

how as a follower or observer or watcher do you administer advice or observation or correction? must it be asked first? because a student never asks for a grade and an employers never requests a review. they seem to be mandatory. And if these changes are not made then there seems to be obvious ramifications (i.e. failing classes, getting fired). However, for leaders of companies or communities, presidents of businesses or presidents should there be mandatory advice sessions in which corrections must be followed?

Jarrod said...


Great question. I think I have an easy answer: community. If you surround yourself in a community that does not gloss over the real pain, sin, and difficulties in all of our stories than I imagine you will not have to ask for feedback. This takes humility and honesty to enter such community. Most community would prefer smiles and pats on the back....not an ethos of editability.

That answer feels cliche so I will give it more thought.

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