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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The experience myth

People think that if someone has been doing the same job for years, he is very good at it. The facts show that this thinking is flawed. For any job, the learning curve declines after a few months. After that, people tend to focus on aspects of job which they like or they stop caring about the job. In many cases, experience clouds judgment. When Bill Gates started Microsoft, he was under the drinking age. Michael Dell started selling computer from his dorm room. Apple has the hottest mobile phone in the market with no experience in making mobile phones a year ago. You will find that the innovation and success come from fresh perspective and risk-taking and not from experience. Yet, most companies do their hiring based on experience. Unbelievable!

Warren Buffet hires people on three skills-Integrity, Intelligence, and Energy.

Integrity: You should be able to trust the person you work with.

Intelligence: If you have the intelligence, you can do any job. The pace at which things evolve today and the world becoming an interconnected global village, the job you have today will look very different in a few years. Also, college education is not the only way you become intelligent.

Energy: A person could have the integrity and the intelligence but he may lack the initiative to do things. Energy is important to make progress.

Like most things Warren Buffet says, this makes perfect sense.

Now the question is why do most companies hire based on experience. Well, it is very simple. The decision makers (executives) at the companies have to justify their big pay packages. What is the one of thing they can point to? Their experience. It is visible and measurable.

Do you ever wonder why all executives in most companies are old?