Consider the following quotes:
From: Ditch the ‘Experts’ – Grading pundits and prognosticators: More famous = less accurate.
By Geoffrey Colvin, Fortune – January 30, 2006
Experts don’t actually exist. Specifically, experts were no better than nonexperts at predicting the future. They weren’t even as good as computer programs that merely extrapolate the past. The best experts could not explain more than 20% of the variability in outcomes, but crude algorithms could explain 25% to 30%, and sophisticated algorithms could explain 47%. Consider what this means. On all sorts of questions you care about–Where will the Dow be in two years? Will the federal deficit balloon as baby-boomers retire?–your judgment is as good as the experts’. Not almost as good. Every bit as good.
From: Who Was Socrates? by Michael S. Russo, Molloy College, Department of Philosophy
This affirmation of his own ignorance is the starting point of Socrates’ philosophy. In his discussions with others Socrates always portrays himself as being ignorant about the topic being discussed and in need of instruction. We should not understand this sort of affirmation of ignorance as a form of relativism (the belief that there is no objective truth) or skepticism (the belief that that the truth is ultimately unknowable); nor should we take seriously Socrates’ claim that he is actually in need of instruction. Rather, we should recognize that Socrates is being ironic when he fains ignorance about moral matters. He is simply pretending not to understand in order to draw out the person with whom he is arguing. By posing as ignorant, Socrates is able to seduce others into making moral claims, and then is able to show them how little they actually know about the topic being discussed.
From: Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley.
The quantum world teaches that there are no pre-fixed, definitely describable destinations. There are, instead, potentials that will form into real ideas, depending on who the discoverer is and what she is interested in discovering. Only by venturing into the unknown do we enable new ideas to take shape, and those shapes are different for each voyager.
I no longer believe that organizations can be changed by imposing a model developed elsewhere. So little transfers, or even inspires, those trying to work at change in their own organizations. Second, and much more important, the new physics cogently explains that there is no objective reality out there waiting to reveal its secrets. There are no recipes or formulae, no checklists or advice that describe "reality."
Am I suggesting any of these quotes represent reality? No, that would be kinda absurd.
Why do people still hire consultants? One possible answer: It’s really surrogate management and leadership, not consulting. Another possible answer: It’s just a matter of time until consulting will cease to exist as we know it.
Who will be writing books in the future if not experts? One possible answer: Great writers.
This is fun to think about. And strangely liberating (is that odd coming from a consultant and someone who USED to have the word expert on her business card?). The alternatives and possibilities for what’s next are intriguing and exciting. Bring it on.