A Little Learning Is A Dang’rous Thing

Last night I tweeted:

One of the most intelligent guys I know (and just reconnected with) Abiodun Ofuya, responded with:

Leave it to Abiodun to pull in both Greek mythology and Alexander Pope.  He’s been doing this since we were in high school 20+ years ago.  The message came through loud and clear.  From Alexander’s Pope’s poem “An Essay On Criticism”:

A little learning is a dang’rous thing

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring

Little learning is often worse than ignorance as little learning gives a false sense of understanding and prevents additional learning whereas ignorance is simply that, ignorance. Little learning is one of the more common conditions present in many organizations that they are unaware of.  Little learning leads to the improper implementation of methods, practices and measures.  The moment we believe that “we’ve got it” or have become “an expert”, we may be dangerously close to “little learning”. Regardless of where this “little learning” lies within the organization, it is often leads to the creation of bad system.  As Dr. Deming said:

A bad system will defeat a good person every time

So what’s the antidote:

Drink deep

Make a personal commitment to continual learning.  Allow your existing mental models to be challenged.  Consult those who are further along the learning path.  As the child of two academics, I believe (based on my personal experience) that learning never ends and I’m always amazed by the new stuff I learn even in areas where I’ve been highly engaged and involved with for a long time. Remember that:

…drinking largely sobers us again

Keep learning.

* See Pierian Spring for more information.

 

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About Ebenezer

culture hack. contrarian. change artiste. speaker. writer. silo-connector. entrepreneur. totally human. ff at your own risk. :-)
This entry was posted in Organizational Learning, Software Development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Little Learning Is A Dang’rous Thing

  1. Pingback: What’s Wrong With Scrum? | Ka anyi kwuo okwu (Let's Talk)

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