Some level of confidence is helpful. But overconfidence can prevent us from true understanding and future success. The things that we have learned and been successful at in the past, do not ensure that we will replicate that success again or in a different environment. For the research paper, "Experience matters? The impact of prior CEO experience on firm performance" data was collected on the careers of CEOs of S&P 500 corporations. It was found that almost 20% of the CEOs had at least one CEO job prior to their current one and that these executives performed worse than those without such experience.
Researchers found that those that had previously been CEOs were too attached to the learnings that made them successful in their previous environment.
In fact, their overconfidence could be labeled as delusional which leads to stubbornness which can prevent open-mindedness and the ability to change or adapt.
Our assumptions at times prevent us from seeing possibilities or a new path forward. In this article in Chief Learning Office, the author states, "Sometimes we can block our own path to success by creating stories that simply aren’t true relative to the facts, knowledge, innovation and capabilities of today. This can hold us back individually as well as collectively across our teams and companies."
Spend some time to create a list of facts that you think are true and then check that perspective. Ask others if they agree that the statement(s) are true. For those that are "really experienced," you should be able to create a long list for this perspective challenging exercise!
This was actually the second article in a series of five. In the first article, "The need for continuous learning: Our knowledge has an increasingly limited shelf life," the discussion focused on the increasing rate of new knowledge and basically calls to us to be lifelong learners because what we know today will be outdated and replaced in a year, month or week! The advice was not to hold too tightly to what you think you know, (stop believing everything you think you know), that success is a moving target and to question everything.
So, what assumptions are you needing to hold up and re-evaluate? Adding this "check and balance" into your system can help you understand whether what you think is what you should believe or if you have it wrong because of an overconfidence effect, success delusion or simply not keeping pace with the Knowledge Doubling Curve.
As you go about your work, constantly check your perspective against others’, ask others to check you and help them to do the same. Challenge overconfidence bias and legacy facts by appreciating the power of innovation to change facts over time and with new knowledge that is generating new facts faster than ever. Such humility can help us understand whether what we think is what we should believe or if we have it wrong because of an overconfidence effect, success delusion or simply not keeping pace with the Knowledge Doubling Curve. Be humble in knowing there will be times when you’ll need to stop believing what you think because it’s simply not true.