The Narcissism of Specialists
Why 'old hands' see tree obstacles where 'new blood' sees forest paths
There comes a time when you think you've walked every road.
Maybe you're from Philly, a lifelong native, and you can get anywhere without GPS. Or any other city, really, where you've been long enough to know every nook and neighborhood.
That same sense applies to strategic challenges. I couldn’t count the times someone on our staff in South Korea was described as an "old hand,"the term often used for an older guy that had been serving on the HQ staff for decades. (Note: They were all male, but, of course, the term could apply to females as well. I also differentiate here between an “old hand” and a “graybeard.” An old hand is typically staff and working-level, while a graybeard is often thought of as higher rank and at the decision-leadership-level.)
Zoom out from the Korean Peninsula and you'll find "old hands" everywhere, in business, sports, politics. And therein lies the problem.