In the chapter on The Hurdler, author Tom Kelley’s name for "that tireless problem-solver who overcomes obstacles so naturally that sometimes it seems as if they weren’t even there," he talks about how "by nature, experts are often the guardians of conventional wisdom."  How’s that for a great phrase?  It would be great, if it weren’t so true!

Kelley’s assessment in The Ten Faces of Innovation is that these guardians can have "deep knowledge of what has worked in the past, and that knowledge can be extremely valuable.  But sometimes an new idea or method, or simply a fresh environment, can make the old view suddenly look outdated (p. 111)."

We’ve all been "pulled down by those who should ‘know better’".  We’ve all had an "expert — someone we trusted — tell us to lower our sights."  The key is to learn to be a hurdler (or at least have a hurdler or two on the team!) because hurdlers listen to experts but don’t let them have the final word when it comes to (their) own thinking, career, or life."  They’ve learned that when you ignore the experts "sometimes the walls in front of you turn out to have doors (p. 112)."

The Guardians of Conventional Wisdom