Are you an expert at what you do? If you are…if you’ve developed an expertise over your career…you are in danger of missing some big opportunities. Why? Because "expertise breeds conservatism, and conservatism can lead to stagnation." Or at least that’s what Bill Welter and Jean Egmon tell us in The Prepared Mind of a Leader : Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions, and Solve Problems. One of the 8 skills they identify is that of learning to challenge or "question the obvious answers and the path of least resistance in favor of what is the right thing, given the circumstances, and who you are fundamentally as a person or as an organization (p. 120)."
This is an important skill. I’m thinking about my own ability to challenge or question the obvious. How often do I argue for a rationale that is simply what has already worked somewhere. What I need to develop is at a minimum the ability to think gray, an idea from The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. The challenge is to develop and maintain the ability to continue to challenge even after we develop an expertise.
Do you have that ability? This could be a very important. As the saying goes, "there is a fine line between being in the groove and being in a rut."