When was the best time of your career? I bet it is was when you were doing something you’d never done before? If this is true, I wonder why it is that we constantly look for people with the right experience to bring about change?
I was handed ‘the flow chart of change management’ by a colleague this week, it was from one of the world’s leading management schools. The first box in the flow process was entitled ‘skills’. Although skills are important, the one thing I have learned in life is this that when a group of people has a big idea, even if they don’t know how, they find a way of bringing it about; meaning skills come much later and are acquired along the way.
Our primal ability (and motivation) to try things that have never been tried and to do things that have never been done, forms the basis of human evolution. Without it there would be no research, no arts or any other kind of human creativity. Our ability to discover things that are hitherto unknown is the motivational miracle that makes us human. So why, oh why do so many employers look for people with ‘the necessary experience’ when what they really need is the necessary eagerness and ability to learn?
I believe that skills have a way of coming to us when we need them. Take learning to ride a bike for example; we try and try, we even fall and hurt ourselves in the attempt, but still we endeavour and usually it doesn’t take us long. Do we need, in the workplace, to understand the science of how momentum and gravitational forces combine to make riding a bike possible?
As a once avid reader, and now writer of management books, I understand that books can contain useful insights and tips but I also know that if you really want to bring about change, the best way to start is to find a couple of additional people that feel the same as you and get on with it!
This over simplistic view on life is built upon types of people, rather than knowledge. So many times, I have stepped into situations where my knowledge level was at almost zero but an eagerness (and ability) to learn quickly and to remain pragmatic and positive, saw me through. And when people like me (and I am not alone) see a benefit for some specific knowledge that is way beyond them, we very quickly reach out to those that have it.
After all, how else did we put a man on the moon? I can’t believe that NASA looked for CV’s of people who had been there before? ‘The candidate must have the proven ability to land a rocket on the moon. No time wasters please!’
Have a good week,