What’s it take to stay relevant in work today? That often cited and disputed study made famous by Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, is based on a study that covered those whose skills required repeated practice - surgeons, violinists, and athletes — notes Rookie Smarts author Liz Wiseman.

Yet, to work and live well in our rapidly evolving and connected world we must be perpetual learners not proficient repeaters of skills. In fact, business author, Josh Kaufman, audaciously claims most careers today require about 20 hours to master.

Equally startling, several studies “show that practice accounts for only 30 percent of the variance in ability among those considered experts” discovered Wiseman. As Wiseman notes, “Today we work in an environment where information is vast, fast and fleeting. That’s why she chose to write “about living and working perpetually on a learning curve” as a purposefully perpetual rookie who is willing to seek out fresh experiences and diverse friendships to stay relevant - with others.

As Robin Sharma once wrote, “The more you go to your limits, the more your limits will expand.”

Just as the wisdom of a diverse crowd results in smarter choices than a single expert’s judgment, Wiseman cites studies that show groups of rookies “can outperform individual experts.” For example, University of Chicago behavioral scientists found that less experienced pathologists’ aggregated findings were better at predicting a cancer patient’s survival time, based on viewing a biopsy slide than the expert pathologists’ conclusions.

Hint: Seeing a situation with fresh eyes as a less experienced professional, can mean that you notice what the more expert peers miss.
First, rookies, according to Wiseman’s definition, have never done the type of work required on a project, as compared to a veteran who has. Consequently they approach the task differently. After Wiseman’s research team studied how rookies and veterans tackled work assignments in “almost 400 workplaces scenarios” they discovered four ways in which rookies outperformed veterans:

1. Rookies were more innovative and apt to complete the project on time.

2. “The highest-performing rookies sought out expertise in others, connected the dots, experimented, learned from mistakes, and focused on making incremental gains.”

3. High performing rookies listen more, are more likely to ask for help, believe they have a lot more to learn, and learn faster.”
Learn more from them here in these places: @Gladwell @LizWiseman Josh Kaufman @joshkaufman @RobinSharma @Atul_Gawande @DrHenryCloud

Author's Bio: 

Kare Anderson’s TED talk on The Web of Humanity: Be an Opportunity Maker has attracted over 2.5 million views. She is an Emmy-winning former NBC and Wall Street Journal journalist, now a speaker on connective behavior and quotability. Her TEDx talk on Redefine Your Life Around a Mutuality Mindset is now a standard session for employees and invited clients at 14 national and global corporations. Her ideas have been cited in 16 books. Her clients are as diverse as Salesforce, Novartis, and The Skoll Foundation. She was a founding board member of Annie’s Homegrown and co-founder of nine women’s political PACs. For Obama's first presidential campaign she created over 208 issues formation teams. She was Pacific Telesis' first Cable TV and Wideband Division Director and a founding board member of Annie's Homegrown. Kare is the author of How We Can Be Greater Together, Opportunity Makers, Mutuality Matters, Moving From Me to We, Beauty Inside Out, Walk Your Talk, Getting What You Want, and Resolving Conflict Sooner. She serves on the boards of The Business Innovation Factory, TEDxMarin, and World Affairs Council Marin.