I hear the phrase “fields of experience” in a lot of business conversations, as in “what fields of experiences does she have that will qualify her for this role?”
I get the value behind the concept. If you’ve got reps, you’re more likely to make good decisions when faced with similar challenges. How you led a previous product launch, managed the company conference, or hired new sales professionals is likely to ensure similar results in related, future initiatives. There’s a clear upside to the value of experience in similar settings.
But I’ve also wondered if this is too limiting.
Maybe “fields of experience” also means entrenched biases that prevent different ideas, innovative approaches, or opportunities for new people to be involved.
If you solve future problems based on how you’ve always solved previous, that seems very safe.
But safe isn’t always a valuable leadership competency in an ever-changing marketplace.
In a recent interview with Randy Illig, FranklinCovey’s resident sales leadership expert, he relayed that many people talk about their “thirty years of experience,” when too often they have one year of experience repeated twenty-nine times. Is this seasoned person bringing new ideas, solutions, and perspectives to solve new challenges—or just repeating what they know over and over again, without challenging their own paradigms? If they’re not progressing, they’re not allowing others to progress either.
I consider myself quite adept at reinventing my brand and my skills. It’s been key to staying relevant inside a small, but constantly evolving organization. But since the interview with Howard Ross and my involvement in the launch of FranklinCovey’s new Unconscious Bias solution, I’m more introspective about how I view others’ brands and skills inside our organization. Are my previous experiences with certain people biasing me against including them in new projects I’m leading? Can colleagues earn a second chance with me? Do I allow anyone else to reinvent themselves?
I’m not sure what the answer is…but I’m surely thinking more about it.
Unconscious biases are hard to identify, much less know their true impact. Before you can take steps to operate more fairly and effectively at work, you need to get your bearings. Download our latest guide: Seven Misconceptions About Unconscious Bias.
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