Sunday, April 5, 2009

Keep it Down

I've tired (for the moment anyway) of adding Part II, III, etc. to the titles. So I'm going with a whole new name.

This is a followup to last week's post, Shut Your Mouth! In the comments Niall Litchfield (love the hair!) left a link to a brilliant article, Unskilled and Unaware of It.

I know I have read that or a summary of it at some point in the last few years.

The summary of the article reads:
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and
logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error...
As Niall suggested, try to read it self-critically.

I think I know when I don't know...but I'm sure there have been plenty of occasions where I thought I knew but I really didn't. I'd also like to think that I don't do this any longer, that it was a fancy of youth, but I can't be so sure. Most recently it would have been in the consideration of building out a highly scalable system.

Anyway, have you ever worked with someone so described? If so, how did you go about dealing with it? Did you make an effort to teach or give "negative" feedback so they might learn? I'm thinking every domain (IT, Financial Services, etc) has those that fall into this category? How do you fix it? Can it be fixed?

1 comment:

Noons said...

It can't be fixed.

HR departments 15 or so years ago decided that "newspeak" was the way to hide and promote incompetence, in the vain hope it'd simplify their work.

From that point onwards, the standards of measurement of competence and professionalism were simply dropped, in the name of greater "efficiency".

Which again basically resumes itself in making Excel's graphic curves match a presumed reality.

Too late to do anything about it. The appropriate time would have been back then.

Unfortunately too many thought it was not important, despite the frequent shouts of alarm...

Best strategy nowadays is just to ignore the problem and let the HR morons sort it out.