Through the last three months, wherever you are, your living rooms would have been flooded with “experts” and people having “experience” and being appointed as advisors, “expert committees” who would have pledged in one way or the other, about not worrying on anything and that they have control and will end this pandemic quick! The fact though remains that the virus is here to stay among us- not necessarily wanting to kill us- unless we have a screwed up immune system- which is because of what we do- what we eat and drink! So who are these “experts” what is all about the magic label of “Experience” and who are these people “followers” whose “followership” qualifies these idiots to lead and make a bad problem worse! Whether it’s a national view, about your immediate community or the work place that you go to, you would have either suffered or have had unwillingly contributed to aggravating problems rather than offering solutions; Thanks to these “experienced” people! Join me here as we try to understand why “experience is over-rated” and why “quality of follwership matters”!
The simplest of facts remains that, “experience” explained the ability to perform a similar or the same tasks over and over again and that made a lot of sense when you needed a shop floor worker to tighten up the screws of physically end up welding joints through a manufacturing process and still it does hold good when key skills are need to perform a task which is routine with utmost precision and accuracy. Surely enough you may want your heart surgeon to have experience because that person would have opened up and closed many beating hearts to ensure they keep beating afterwards too! But the moment you ask the heart surgeon to open up the brain and fix things up! Well, yes, you’ve got what I a m trying to say, you are asking that person to do something which that person has never done before! So you see all that accumulated experience becomes of zero value! Likewise if the welder knows how to work on a particular machine /component and tighten bolts for a particular product type- and now if that person was to move over to a new assembly line- his entire so called “experience” will be of little or no consequence as things change! What remains is competence and skill- A skilled worker or a surgeon- one will always remain- who they are- skilled and competent- but the accumulated experience does not help them solve something that they don’t know what to do with it! The current pandemic that the world is facing is getting aggravated by exactly this kind of disposition where all the governments of the world have assembled armies of “experienced” people who don’t have a f**king clue of what to do and how to deal with what they are trying to solve! – simply because this virus was manufactured either by man or nature just few months back to engage with the biochemistry and physiology of humans! It would have been roaming in the wild among animals for millions of years- who knows- but these changes and the impact is new and what is needed to tackle this is not “experience” but “intelligence” to study and work on solution pathways by studying the ongoing impact so that quick fixes are made available keeping in mind regional, geographical, demographical specificity of each nation and the regions within large nations!
This approach is the only hope that so called “experienced” people can bring to the table to ensure the world emerges from the shadows more rapidly rather than wasting time, money and resources to feed on their egos of misplaced experience which has no or little consequence simply because they have never experienced anything like this before and all their accumulated learnings are a big zero to this new challenge- what remains is the their skill and competence which needs to be supported by available intelligence to over come these situations- which I believe is a different problem of diminishing intelligence and also the fact that these “experienced folks” have never seen a problem like the one they are trying to solve with their limited past experience which has nothing to do with what they face!
This misplaced experience not only is detrimental in situations like of a global pandemic, but when these”experienced” geniuses walk the corporate world, they leave a trail of destruction like no one else and yes, fundamental reasons are almost always same- trying to solve a new age problem with an old age belief system and based on what they would have previously done; add to that the next layer of “flawed followership” which ends up becoming the final nail in the coffin for a corporate meltdown!
Firms hire- people with “experience” not realizing that the problem being faced is unique to the organisation and the circumstantial set around it- yes you can hire for people who show competence and skills to deal with complex situations but that is no way a guarantee for being able to fix the new problem at hand (it may be a recurring problem for the organization- but for the people walking in new – it will be a new problem and with time either they are able to fix it or end up growing avoidance strategies like everyone else around so that the problem stays and grows alongside their careers in the organisation! What’s the easiest way to know if this has manifested- watch out for the words- “This is how it is- this is how it will be!” How to go around this? Well only one way- Always hire for competence, skill and personality- These attributes are at the very foundation of an individual which will tell you whether a person that you want on your team is an all weather solution or a fair weather peacock!
But then why do people have so much of misplaced stress on “experience” well this has more to do with the “Followers” and importantly the “Quality of Followership”! Remember folks we get our urge of being followed and high of leading even as we evolved from being chimps into humans- but the quality of followership speaks a lot more about the Leader than the follower! If you want to ever decide whom you want to to work with- do check the followership for the person! In an ideal and highest form of Leadership- Leaders are meant to create more Leaders and not Followers (Refer- John C Maxwell), but given the short supply of common sense and reducing intelligence- even if Leader’s are able to get high quality followers, I will pleased enough! Look around you, whether it is your office, it’s your city council, your national politics- what do you see- you will see an unfailing pattern- Like attracts Like– That’s the universal law and holds good very much when it is about the quality of Followership! Say you have an intelligent leader- but obviously the followership will be more of intelligent people who are able to understand and contribute to the leader’s cause and actions- those who don’t understand a shit of what the Leader is saying will simply walk away- saying that the leader is an idiot! Well at times it may be true- when Leader’s camouflage their dumbness and call it as intelligence which is lapped up by an equally greater number of dumb followers- who also are believed into thinking that they are wise because they are following a wise leader!
This eternal strife between real and assumed intelligence and the quality of followership ends up serving societies with leaders who now have “experience” and become “experts” who are then entrusted with all our lives when we meet global challenges! Well I am certainly not suggesting that all are idiots, what I am saying here is- the quality of follwership and giving more importance to individual intelligence, competence and skills is much more valuable and meaningful if the world needs to find it’s way back not only from the pandemic but also from a growing economic disaster which will turn into a socio economic problems with law and order connotations in the coming weeks and months!
Experience only helps if you are going to go about doing the same thing again and again the same way as you have been doing it earlier! When contextual settings change- as life changes- what will help and what alone helps is – intelligence, skill and competence which are as intrinsic to every individual just as their blood group and it is all about doing what best they do with it that makes the difference between surviving and crashing during a meltdown event!
I will leave you with my thoughts here, time for a coffee and will be back soon with another piece, until then do think about what leader’s,experts and followership quality have you seen around you and what is that you want to change for the larger good, form this moment on!