Last weekend my son Parker and I played a game of Go.
Parker (14 and a freshman in High School) has been reading about, studying and playing Go for several months. For a variety of reasons he and I hadn't sat down to play since he was first learning.
In a role reversal, Parker was the expert and I the neophyte as we played the game. While this reversal could make an interesting blog post in itself, the lessons I received from the game were stunning. Here are a couple of my lessons and how you can apply them yourself.
1. Seeing patterns
. One key to success in Go and many other board games is the patterns that arise as the game progresses (if you don't know Go you can learn more here
) think about the patterns a chess expert sees as a game unfolds). Parker, because of his study and practice, could see patterns that I couldn't see. His experience and knowledge help him to interpret the board and the positions of the stones in ways that I can't yet do. I believe the same is true for any expertise.
2. The Curse of Knowledge
. As we become experts in anything we see new patterns. During the game Parker was occasionally surprised when I couldn't see or understand something. He was reacting naturally - just like any expert, he couldn't believe I couldn't understand! In Chip and Dan Heath's excellent new book Made to Stick
they call this the Curse of Knowledge. I tell people that to effectively teach someone something, we must remember what it was like when we were a beginner. Here's a hint - it isn't easy.
Both of these lessons apply to us as leaders - we see patterns and assume others see them, and we sometimes have trouble communicating things because we "assume" people already know that.
These lessons apply to us as trainers, whether formal or informal because both of these factors play heavily into our success (or failure) in teaching anyone something new, especially when we are significantly more expert than they are.
I'm looking forward to my next game of Go - even though Parker will probably beat me badly - because I know there are many more lessons for me to learn.
Labels: games, reflection