“When Does the Effort Put into Learning Pay Off?”

Make or Buy Decision: The Trade-Off of Learning vs.Delegating

Why Learning Rarely Makes Sense Short-Term

When it comes to learning a new skill, we often make the same cost-benefit analysis as with a make-or-buy decision in business. Learning to master a skill takes time and energy, and so, for most, it only makes sense to do so if the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Moreover, even if you are a genius, hiring an expert to solve a problem still takes less time and effort than learning to solve it yourself from scratch.

Delegate What You’re Not Good At

The optimal choice for many learn-or-delegate decisions depends on your level of expertise. You should do what you’re good at and delegate what you’re not. However, the wrinkle in this approach is that your expertise level is not constant, as it depends on the amount of practice on the skill. Therefore, the decision also depends on how often you expect to use the skill.

Do We Underinvest in Learning?

The problem is that our intrinsic motivational system is short-term focused, with immediate costs or payoffs having a significant influence on our decision-making process. People often pay a steep discount rate for delayed rewards, which is inconsistent with any rational agent. As a result, we may be underinvesting in learning and disinclined to practice skills that fail an initial cost-benefit analysis.

Matthew Effects in Learning

The Matthew Effect refers to a phenomenon where some people who have a slight advantage in their ability to learn a particular skill may significantly reduce their costs of learning new material compared to others. This skill-begets-skill phenomenon also applies to reading, which may bootstrap intelligence by making it easier to acquire new knowledge and skills.

Specialization and Focusing on Strengths

The road to abundance in our current world lies in specialization, not self-sufficiency. We delegate the majority of skills in our lives because getting really good at one thing makes sense when it’s relatively easy to delegate everything else. However, there are instances where delegation is impossible or inconvenient, and the skill must be mastered to achieve the desired outcome.

Thinking about Learning in the Long-Term

When facing resistance to learning something new, consider how much easier the skill will become with practice. Estimate the effort required by looking at people with varying degrees of experience in the skill. The decision to learn or delegate a skill also depends on the frequency with which it will be required. Therefore, it’s important to think about learning in the long-term and invest time and effort in developing the skills that are most valuable in the long run.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

“Unlocking the Full Potential of the Business Expertise Series: A Comprehensive Guide”

June 9, 2023 – An Assortment of Meticulous Attention to Detail