The very first article I assign in my MBA class on Organizational Behavior is “Teaching Smart People How to Learn,” by Chris Argyris. People that are too smart to learn are very skilled problem solvers, but very unskilled at reflecting on and changing their own behavior. Successful people just like you and me are most likely to be too smart to really learn. It’s difficult for people to understand that there is a difference between performance and learning.
It’s tough getting through to smart people. Their defensive reasoning mechanisms create a stronghold of incognizance. If you even care to know, here are ten signs that you might indeed be too smart to learn:
1. You spend your time and energy trying to convince others your views are right instead of trying to understand their views.
2. You believe that making mistakes is a sign of incompetence
3. People that know you can’t remember the last time you changed your behavior in any significant way
4. You look for someone to “blame and shame” whenever something goes wrong
5. You take great pride in your intelligence
6. You consider yourself an expert
7. You would rather be recognized for your accomplishments than for your efforts
8. Self-esteem is the focus of your self-reflection
9. It’s impossible for you to question your assumptions because you’ve either never taken the time to identify them or have long since forgotten them
10. If you read outside of work, it’s primarily for pleasure
Our organizations are full of smart people masquerading as leaders. Do you want to be an authentic participant in the process of real leadership, or is being smart good enough?
What do you think? I know I’ve probably missed something, so please share your thoughts in the comment section below!