Experts do not need rules to make decisions. They have qualities that allow them to consistently make good decisions and show high level of performance under different circumstances without any rules. This post discusses these core qualities that turn a novice into an expert.
rule: prescribed guide for conduct or action
intuition: instinctive knowing (without the use of rational processes)
tacit knowledge: automatic, unexpressed knowledge that provides context for people, places, ideas, and experiences. Tacit knowledge is not easily shared. As Polanyi said: “We know more than we can tell.”
context: the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
Problems with rules
Most rules didn’t come from heaven. They come from ordinary people. They are product of practice, theories, traditions and fear.
- context-free – rules reflect standard situations without considering your specific circumstances
- limited verification – most rules are empirical and do not pass vigorous analysis, strict prove and experiments
- time sensitive – many rules become outdated quickly in dynamic professions, industries and societies
- overcautious – fear fuels many rules and seeks to protect from the worst scenario, often imaginable
- low skills denominator – rules tuned to match capabilities of the majority without accounting for individual strengths and weaknesses
- misinterpretation – tacit knowledge of experts, which forms base for many rules, is difficult to transfer in correct and understandable form