LEVEL 1 & LEVEL 2 (0-20%)
You are yet to use Expert Thinking in any significant way. The good news is you have a huge potential that can be tapped into
Check the relevance of your gut feelings and make sure you’re not drawing on impulsive assumptions.
Share your ideas with other people to consider what other perspectives people may have, before taking action. Consider alternatives and actively listen out for different expert views. When finding experts to talk to, try to look both inside and outside of your network and organisation.
Be sure to also check the relevance of other’s people’s expert opinions – remembering not to confuse expertise with seniority!
LEVEL 3 & LEVEL 4 (21-40%)
You use Expert Thinking infrequently and not yet in any routine way. The good news is that there is a lot of opportunity to develop further.
Always check the relevance of your gut feelings and avoid falling into the trap of ‘tunnel vision’. Ask yourself “What would it take to change my mind?” If you can’t answer this question, then you could be working on blind assumption and not using Expert Thinking.
When talking to others about a challenge, find people who have faced a similar issue. When drawing from the expertise of others, be sure to ask them what they would do if they were faced with the same situation. Check how relevant their experiences are to your query or situation. This will help you to sense-check how much to take from their views.
LEVEL 5 & LEVEL 6 (41-60%)
You have sufficient capability to draw on and use Expert Thinking and have some experience of applying this to your work. The foundations are there to be built on further.
Get into the habit of asking yourself what your ‘gut feel’ is upfront, before it gets overshadowed by other influences. Then make a point of sense checking what your gut feel is based on. Ask yourself what past experiences you can draw from that informs your gut feel. If you haven’t got a great deal of past relevant experience to draw from, then treat you gut feel with caution.
Make it a habit to ask yourself what it would take to change your mind. If you can’t think of anything that would change your mind then be careful you’re not at risk of ‘tunnel vision’.
Find new people to talk to beyond your usual network. This may be people in different sectors, industries or areas of life. Consider and be open to alternative views – talk to people who will challenge your perspective. Remember that a relevant expert could come from outside the usual job roles, sectors or hierarchies.
LEVEL 7 & LEVEL 8 (61-80%)
You are already using Expert Thinking to good effect and are ready to hone your capabilities further.
When faced with a complex situation, always stop and question what your ‘gut feel’ is founded on and make sure your expertise is relevant to the situation before taking action. Ask yourself what makes your past experience relevant to your new situation. What similarities and differences are there to this situation compared to previous ones?
Actively seek out as many different and diverse opinions as possible to challenge and test your views before taking action. When faced with an issue outside of your own area of expertise or at the limits of your own experience, look to experts from different sectors, industries or areas of life to draw from. However, actively check what makes their expertise relevant to your own situation before following their advice.
LEVEL 9 (81-90%)
You have superior levels of Expert Thinking and are able to draw from the brilliance of this thinking strategy readily.
Remember that Expert Thinking is a capability that can be continuously improved through self-awareness and practice, even when you are already performing well.
Continue to challenge yourself on where the most relevant expertise sits and tap into it, be it your own or others. Recognise and tune into your own gut feelings and whenever these are not based on relevant past experience, be sure to interrogate this. Taking each situation, ask yourself if the past is likely to predict the future. If it is not likely, then treat your gut feel particularly cautiously to avoid being misguided by it.
LEVEL 10 (91-100%)
You are maximising Expert Thinking and operating at the highest level. Well done!
Encourage others to follow your lead. Role model how you draw on the expertise of others to help inform what is being worked on. Continue to tune into your own expertise and also to keep challenging yourself on where the limits of your own expertise exist. Tap into your own gut feelings and continually check the relevancy of these by asking what the basis for your gut feelings are and how relevant your past experience is. Help others to do the same by asking them the same questions.