Recently, I’ve been mindful of the title of the classic Jimi Hendrix album, Are You Experienced?
That’s because over the past couple of weeks, I’ve encountered lots of examples where people have incorrectly been labelled as experienced or inexperienced.
I think it’s time someone called out the automatic assumption, that experience can be measured by age. Or that experience can be measured by how long someone has been in a particular line of work.
As no one seems to have stepped up, I thought I would.
Time absolutely does not equal experience
In business, experience isn’t magically acquired with each passing day.
Commercially valuable experience, (the kind this post is about), is gained through the acquisition of relevant knowledge and feedback, which the person then works with, in order to be better informed and make better decisions.
They’ve increased the depth and width of their relevant knowledge.
They’ve increased their commercial value to their marketplace and their business.
They’ve become commercially experienced.
Young and highly experienced
Here’s a great example of someone who’s young, but very experienced. I work regularly with a young guy who’s the CEO of an amazing technology company. He’s eager to learn. He loves to test and measure ideas. And he applies what he has learned in order to improve.
He’s VERY successful.
And despite his age, he’s very experienced.
The exact opposite
Conversely, I hear regularly from business owners, who’ve been in business 20 years longer than my client, but have a fraction of his experience. They have a few years worth of experience, repeated 10 times.
They’re still repeating rookie errors, really basic mistakes, which have lost them and cost them a fortune.
There are many amazing, relatively young business owners out there. Great providers, who care about what they do and who deliver as promised.
The same is true of many older business owners. (I am one of them, after all).
If we attribute someone’s commercial experience to their age or their time in business, we’re likely to make some lousy decisions. And the same holds true if we erroneously attribute experience to ourselves.