"We are living in an age of networks, not hierarchies, knowledge and wisdom is distributed rather than concentrated among gray hairs." This quote appeared in the May 2011 issue of Fast Company under the title of "Life In Beta: A Case For Changing The Way We View Mentors" by Anna Kamenetz. I dig this quote so much I put it on the first photo scrolling on the homepage of my blog. The school of thought that experience is needed to lead and innovate is permanently expelled in today's age of networks.
Is experience irrelevant these days? Before you answer that…consider these trends:
- In 2010, the top 10 in-demand jobs did not exist in 2004.
- The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today's learner will have 10-14 jobs…by the age of 38.
- We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet.
- The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years. For students starting a 4 year technical degree this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
How can you gain experience during these exponential times that we live in today? Perhaps experience in adaptability is today's greatest asset.
The Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation in the history of humanity. More Millennials will have college degrees than any other generation before them. Scary huh? In addition, Millennials are entering the workplace with the least amount of work experience of any other generation. This is the friction point where many leaders decide to sideline Millennials due to their lack of experience. But I'd like to challenge that traditional thinking. What value does experience hold in a culture of perpetual beta? Stubborn experience may be what is holding your organization back from innovating.
Do not be so quick to dismiss talent that has little experience. Better questions are: What relevant skills are you gaining? How fast can you adapt and learn? And how coachable are you?
New experiences are being forged everyday…join the fight.
Question: What fresh experiences are you gaining?