Confidence is good for the individual and bad for the organisation

We all look to experts in order to help us navigate round an increasingly complex world.  The difficulty is in working out who to trust?  Is it the person who shows plenty of self confidence and never admits either being wrong, or not knowing? Or the quiet self deprecating person in the corner?

On the whole we tend to look to those alpha beings who are prepared to take a stand and trust them to make at least some of our decisions for us.  Unfortunately there is now plenty of evidence that their self-confidence is often misplaced. (Click here for details). Autopsies have shown that even doctors who declare themselves total confident in their diagnosis of patients when they were alive , were proved to be wrong 40% of the time.

It seems that Bill Clinton has taken this very much to heart and now has a new Mantra.  Once a day he makes it a rule to say out loud “I didn’t know that” and “I was wrong”! While I don’t doubt that this makes him a better person and it is certainly a interesting  experiment from somebody with his background, the question that I would really like to get answered is whether there is any way he could have been elected as President of the United States with that level of public self doubt? My guess is that he would have been ripped apart by the press, his political enemies and the public at large.

We all claim that we want leaders to say sorry.  But it is up to the great public to enable it to happen.  In the meantime keep this definition in the back of your mind.

Definition of an Expert:   X – an unknown quantity.
Spurt – a drip acting under pressure.