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Beyond Experience: Keeping It Real & Relevant

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your confidence. Reading time: 2:56.

             In a leadership review meeting, an executive complained that the candidate lacked experience. “Wait a minute,” objected another executive, “he’s got at least 10 years experience with his former company. “Yeah, right,” demurred the executive, “More like one year of experience 10 times.”

             Leaders know they have to keep it real. Every day is a new experience. Not a redo or a redux but a rekindling and rejuvenating; a renewal and revival.

            Leaders step on the platform of yesterday only to soar higher today without paying too much attention to past limitations.

          Consider Charles Lindbergh. He became the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean even though he had never flown half as far as he did over those 33.5 hours from New York to Paris 1927. Lindbergh, at 25, didn’t know what he didn’t know and proceeded onward with an insight, with a vision, with a mission burning and yearning within him of youthful exuberance. Lindbergh called it “the poet’s eye.”

       Writing in his autobiography The Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh observed: “The novice has a poet’s eye. He sees and feels where the expert’s senses have been calloused by experience. Contact tends to dull appreciation. In the detail of the familiar one loses awareness of the strange. First impressions have a clarity of line and color which experience may forget and not regain.”

        Leaders stay aware of the new and different within the familiar. They see anew more than rely on what they knew.

       They know that you cannot create a leader over time by marinating him or her in experience to become a more juicy, more tasty, more insightful leader as if you were tenderizing a steak over time.

         In fact Plato said “experience takes away more than it adds.” Sometimes experience often comes too late: you take the test first and then learn the lesson. Like the Chinese proverb says: “Experience is a comb that nature gives us when we are bald.” Or as Oscar Wilde noted: “Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes.”

         Correcting mistakes made over time with your experience is certainly valued where specific protocols must be followed. You want an experienced surgeon, a seasoned lawyer and a veteran pastor.

        But where change is the constant, leaders are valued more readily by those who can see tomorrow unencumbered by today or dependent on yesterday. With a poet’s eye.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

See new things not things you aleady knew to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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