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Tomaino Arm Care Network

Dr. Tomaino's Blog

The Experience Trap

January 18th, 2009
Don Moyer, in a Harvard Business Review article entitled, "Is Experience Enough" (HBR Jan 2009 p120), points out that "despite the power of learning first hand, the lessons of experience can be misleading." He references English author Douglas Adams, who wrote "Human beings, who are the most unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." Indeed, Moyer acknowleges that, "sometimes our own experience is the only teacher we're willing to pay attention to." Amplifying on this theme further, Sengupta et al, in an article entitled "The Experience Trap" (HBR Feb 2008), point out that "when faced with a complex problem, managers often rely on mental modes drawn from past experience, which block the new insights needed for the task at hand. As complications are introduced, people either ignore them or try to apply simple rules of thumb that work only in noncomplex situations."

So--let's get this right........though I have mentioned in previous blogs that "Experience" is important.....something that can't simply be studied in a book-----and that "wisdom of experience" (Chie) is a critcal ingredient in decision-making..............Experience may not only NOT be enough, but may also block new insight and deprive one of the fullest array of possibilities.

Don't worry!!! This is all to provide a sound basis for conscientious pushback when you may not be satisfied with what you hear from your caregiver. Simply put---one's OWN experience needs to be differentiated from EXPERIENCE---that which may be the by product of professional networks, colleagues, research studied and read etc etc.

I have often thought that I would rather my physician read, understand, and apply (when apprpriate) the latest research --that other skilled scientists have conducted-- rather than be the brilliant researcher him or herself--particularly if that "experience" narrowed perspective or limited point of view.

IN OTHER WORDS, while experience and expertise may rest singularly on the shoulders of the intellectual capacity of 'an individual', it may not be all that bad---in fact it may be best---if 'the individual' charged with your care is humble enough to appreciate the value of the collective experience and expertise of countless others.

It's why I participate in educational conferences, sit on Journal Editorial and Company Scientific Advisory Boards, and regularly study the latest scientific information in several journals relevant to the Shoulder, Hand, and Elbow.

EXPERIENCE, not just my own!


sarah o.

I am really grateful to be able to see a dr. who no only talks to me, but that she sees me, with my medicaid insurance and such. Thank you.

January 23rd, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

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