In the book, The Wisdom of Crowds, the phenomenon of “crowdsourcing” is shown to be a powerful way to predict and even improve outcomes. Case after case is mounted to educate us on how the masses are smarter than the select few. In fact, it’s a known fact the intelligence of a group is consistently higher than the actual average of the members actual IQs. As I re-read this book over the holiday weekend, it made me wonder:
“How can crowdsourcing be used to advance our careers?”
I think far too many of us are guilty of not soliciting the right crowd to help us get better results than we can get on our own. While we may seek advice, it’s often from individual sources who aren’t even qualified to provide accurate insight. Let’s face it – rarely do we seek the collective wisdom of a group we trust. Instead, we vent our career frustrations to people in our life who aren’t really in a position to give us unbiased, honest advice – let alone advise us based on their own past success.
2 Reasons We Fear the Wisdom of Crowds
I think there are two reasons most of us don’t use crowdsourcing in our careers.
- We are afraid to hear the truth.
- We don’t want to look weak or needy.
And yet, there is undeniable proof crowdsourcing could provide us with information and guidance that could help us get what we want faster.
However, You Do Need to Seek the “Right” Crowd
It’s important to note that a major factor that impacts the effectiveness of crowdsourcing for your career is mutual trust. In short, you must use a crowd who has your best interests at heart. And believe it or not, that is not as easy to achieve as it sounds…
The book discusses how humans have a natural desire to focus on their self-interests and a sense of fairness based on how much we think others deserve. Which means, if a person sees you getting more than they feel you should receive, they will tend NOT to help you.
Consider this: Many people, friends and family included, have an idea of how successful and happy they think you deserve to be. Which means, they will only help you reach that point, not go beyond it. Moreover, if helping you doesn’t serve their interests in some way, why bother? You can see why choosing a crowd wisely is pretty important!
3 Ways to Implement Crowdsourcing for Your Career
In the video below, I discuss the pros and cons of using crowdsourcing for your career with our CareerHMO.com members. In my opinion, there are three ways you can leverage crowdsourcing to help you:
- Identify a 10-person board of directors for your business-of-one (a.k.a. a set of mentors who you admire) and ask them to provide you with some honest insight about your professional development. Send them your LinkedIn profile with a set of core questions. Then, review the answers and look for patterns in their responses.
- Send your career story to CAREEREALISM.com and have us post it for readers (many of whom are career counselors, coaches, etc.) and see what they suggest you can do.
- Join or start an accountability group that meets regularly to help one another. Be sure to choose the right members!
What other ways can we use crowdsourcing for our careers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Each Ah-ha Lab is a discussion around a cutting-edge concept being shared by one of today’s emerging thought leaders. See the new ideas that are shaping our professional futures.
Watch » Ah-ha Lab every Tuesday at 1:00 PM ET
Photo credit: Shutterstock