The troubling flaws in how we select experts

The Washington Post:

Organizations are constantly scouring the earth for the talent or perfect expert that will provide the fresh edge and perspective needed to overcome the challenging obstacles that stand in their way to the top. In their pursuit of excellence however, you may be shocked to learn the criteria they use to define credibility and expertise may be severely flawed.

Many of us can think to a time we made a recommendation to a boss, superior or heck, even a family member only to be completely brushed off. I know I’ve been in this boat before. It’s frustrating, but the problem goes beyond simple indifference. Almost 25 percent of workers are ignored at work. What’s more frustrating is when suggestions or advice are ignored but implemented later — with much fanfare — only when presented by an outsider or highly paid expert. Why are these recommendations perceived as bad ideas when suggested by employees, but suddenly brilliant when a lesser known individual suggests the same thing? Why are these outsiders perceived to be more credible? One reason may their anonymity.

I spoke with Dan Ariely, the two-time New York Times best-selling author, professor at Duke University and noted researcher on irrational behavior. Not only does Ariely believe this bias is real, but he points to the underlying reason it exists. “Often, people give more benefit of the doubt to people who are coming from the outside,” he told me.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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