Have you ever overlooked someone’s advice because you didn’t consider they had enough experience to know what they were talking about?
My husband, Mike, and I learned an interesting lesson a few years ago during his recovery from critical injuries after a dirt bike accident. He’d spent time in a wheelchair after destroying both femurs, crushing five vertebrae, sustaining a head injury and doing various other bits of damage. Three years after the accident he was still experiencing severe pain in his legs.
By that stage he’d consulted various specialists and their advice was always along the lines of, “You’ve had a serious accident, Mike, just learn to live with the results of it.”
Mike wasn’t having a bar of that - he kept seeking answers in the hope somebody would offer him an alternative that would enable him to fully recover from his injuries.
On one occasion, he went to see yet another doctor to get a new opinion. This time he was looked over by a young intern before the doctor came into the room.
This young intern was the least experienced medical person we had consulted, but he finally seemed to get it.
He said to the doctor, “I think this patient’s different because he’s had a sport-related accident. I think we should send him to the Institute of Sport so he can get examined by someone familiar with sporting injuries.”
It turned out that the intern had been a personal trainer for ten years - so, unlike many of the other professionals Mike had consulted, he could see things from another perspective. That piece of advice proved to be critical in Mike’s recovery.
Because of that conversation, we discovered the surgery he’d had on both legs had problems that needed to be corrected. Once Mike had the corrective surgery, the debilitating pain all but disappeared and he could get fully on the road to recovery.
We learned a huge lesson through that experience: Sometimes the best advice or inspiration comes from the most unlikely source. We could easily have discounted the advice of that intern but instead we took it seriously - and so did the doctor - and that led to a great outcome.
Perhaps in your business or life there are people who, like that intern, have great insights but they’re overlooked because they don’t appear to have enough experience or the right qualifications.
This was a good reminder not to overlook those people. The smartest thing we can all do is listen to them - because often they’re the ones with the most valuable ideas.
Is there someone in your circle at the moment that you should be paying more attention to? You might be surprised at the different results you get by listening to the quietest voice in the room.