Nozak Consulting

The Rookie Advantage

William Nozak

Speed & Innovation

When you were new, you did not give up; you persisted, assuming nothing, frankly, because you knew nothing. You knew there was no way back, so you pushed forward.

You made it up, innovated, or found others that knew. You looked for those that had cracked the ‘code’ per se. You saw possibility, moved the world, sought after help, collaborated, read, searched and found what you needed. What a rookie.

That Advantage

There is something to be said about the rookie advantage. How often do those with ‘the answers’ over look contrary findings? I mean if you are the incumbent, what need do you have of novel thinking.

You already know the patterns. Seeking input, finding innovative possibilities, and not being controlled by past scars, gives us something. I do not mean to diminishing experience, which is where journey’s lead. The Rookie Advantage must be retained through the journey.

Experience Can Be a Disadvantage

How often does an experienced team retort an idea with I have tried that it does not work, thunderously ending all negotiations on alternative, augmentation, and approach. For the experienced, often the gap between what is known and what is envisioned widens. All of a sudden, we are naked. Insecurity immobilizes us.

Instead of audacious, fearless innovation, we feel panicky fear. The illusionist -fear of failure- is frightening, so we run to security and warmth. Instantly, we morph, de-evolve into a puppet with tailored contributions, with boxed-up, over-analyzed risk. Never again to discover the big win.

Speed & Innovation

The rookie advantage is speed and innovation. Desperation makes you think and act quickly. The paranoid survive. Through success, contribution happens. Through contribution learning and experience occur. These transformations are inevitable. The erudite thrives by retaining her rookie advantage.

Is the loss of the rookie advantage inescapable?

No. Never get comfortable; never settle in. The following are suggestions to maintain or reunite with your rookie advantage. If your inquiry came from a form of incompetence or not knowing then spend more time in jobs for which you are unqualified. Approach your work as you are doing it the very first time. Never be satisfied with the new and ever changing status quo. Stay humble and curious.

Be willing to learn from anyone and everyone, vertically or horizontally. Allow your work to be fun. Be deliberate. Try to retain your routine that allowed you to tap into your rookie advantage.

Remember learning snowboarding or skiing? You practiced on the green slopes, you fell, and then you learned to fall, you tried to turn, failed, then learned the mechanics to turn.

You were slow, steady and deliberate, willing and cautiously daring. It was fun, it got your blood flowing, you learned and appreciated the knowledge passed down, but always willing to try something unscripted. Now that you are on the double black diamonds, you have your style, your way of doing things.

To remember what it was like to be a newcomer, the rookie, the first-timer, go back to the greens and revitalize your point of view. Find those rituals that gave you that rookie advantage. Re-read the books that inculcated you to the scholar you are. Rekindle relationships that flourished in your rookie advantage. Visit the coffee shops, the friends, the places.

Others need you to regain your speed & innovation

You inspired others when you were in your rookie advantage shoes. Remember the zeal, passion, energy, and enjoyment that defined your motions and get back to your rookie advantage. Make another million doing it.

Every year I taught Anatomy & Physiology, I reread the text, the same material by other authors, and new texts that bridged the knowledge gained to knowledge required. This kept me fresh and advantaged. Find a way to molt your beliefs, practices, routines, and skin in order to occupy your rookie space.