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10 Ways to Spot an Expert

One price of scientific & technological progress is that we tend to rely more on specialist & 'experts' but can we spot one with or without the right title or letters after her/his name? & Could


we easily miss one? If so, these tips may help:

1. An ‘expert’ makes her/his assumptions explicit and quantifies the % probability of her/his predictions.

2. An ‘expert’ can tell the difference (like a professional poker player) between a 60/40 and a 40/60 proposition.

3. An ‘expert’ can explain in granular detail when s/he last made a mistake and why.

4. An ‘expert’ understands the importance of CONTEXT – and asks you about the C’s – the Conditions, Constraints & Characteristics of your unique situation

5. An ‘expert’ dosn’t get carried away by the ‘uniqueness’ of your case, s/he doesn’t tend to neglect the ‘Base Rate’.

6. An ‘expert’ literally can see what you don’t - picking up on more subtle perceptual cues.

7. An ‘expert’ can ask intelligent questions about almost anything.

8. An ‘expert’ likes to receive information ‘blind’ – without hearing too much about your preferred or expected reaction.

9. An ‘expert’ welcomes being one of a few who you consult, independently i.e. without hearing what others’ advice is in advance of his/her own.

10. An ‘expert’ wants you to think independently before acting & to feedback to him/her any misses &/or ‘false alarms’.

Like experts, we all want to continuously improve i.e. adaptively learn.

This is one of the hand-outs from our Virtual “Quality Mindset” programme running with the IBEC Engineering Skillnet. Email me fiona@think4purpose.ie for details.

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