First a quote; What can be more painful than learning from experience? Not to learn from your experience.” — Laurence J. Peter
I often hear people describe the amount of experience they have in terms of their tenure, or length of service in a given business, industry or profession. Experience is often measured in increments of time such as weeks, months or years. I myself often claim to have 30-plus years of experience working with leaders and teams in exploration of excellence, growth and success.
Is it possible most of us, or at least many of us, are guilty of exaggerating the amount of experience we have, myself included?
Ponder these questions using my 30 years in leadership development as an example: Do I indeed have 30 years of experience? Or, is it possible I have something different… perhaps: One year of experience 30 times over; or three years of experience ten times over; or 15 years twice…? You get the idea.
The Webster Dictionary offers several definitions of experience including: 1a, direct observation of, or participation in, events as a basis of knowledge; 1b, the fact, or state, of having been affected by, or gained knowledge through, direct observation or participation in an activity.
I suggest here that simply doing a task, job or function over and over doesn’t yield experience of value if little is learned, or gained, in the process. True enough, we may gain skill mastery through repetition, but not necessarily growth or new knowledge. Without learning and growth, experience in terms of repetition of past experiences may be of little value, to your or others. This is especially true if the world has changed around us, and that is likely to be the case… almost guaranteed!
Let’s take leading staff meetings as one small example. If you are responsible for running a weekly or monthly staff meeting, ask yourself when was the last time you changed the way you run your meetings in terms of agenda, flow, participation, process or procedures? If you haven’t changed the way you run your meetings in months or even years, you could be giving yourself credit for more experience than you actually have, at least in terms of running staff meetings.
Now, if you have researched and reflected, gotten feedback from meeting participants, analyzed your results over time, and come to the conclusion the way you run meetings is the best way to run them, than fine, I’m certainly good with that. However, my experience is that the reason many people run meetings the way they run meetings, is because they have always run their meetings the way they always run meetings… if that makes sense to you. If you always do, what you always did, you will always get what you always got.
Please know this message is not about meetings. Meetings here were just an example of a multitude of experiences. If we are not learning and growing from our experiences, than maybe the amount of experience we have doesn’t matter as much as we thought. What have you learned recently from your experiences?
Think quick… what did you learn last week that you will apply this week?
Be your best self this week! Have a great week!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”