Experience vs Success

suksesWhen knowledge and experience become the biggest enemy of our success.
In a consulting firm, once there were two types of leaders. The first one is Maria, formerly a director of a company. She was very smart, very competent, and expert in the services provided by the consulting company. The other one is Asima, who had no exact experience in the services given by the company but had a remarkable enthusiasm for learning.
Maria ruled with an iron hand. Since she knew everything, she never wanted to get any input from her subordinates. She even considered that the company’s clients were not as smart as her. She designed various policies according to her own opinion. She judged everyone by her own standards.
Having minimum command of the technical matters of the company, Asima learned from as many people, including from those she led. Although she did not master the technical matters, her managerial and leadership capabilities enabled her to win the hearts of the clients and her team.
The smart Maria apparently failed to survive long enough in the company. The team she led did not support her; her target was not successfully achieved. On the contrary, Asima, who is not as smart as Maria, managed to survive long enough to boost the growth of the company she was working for.
This is an example where experience and knowledge become the greatest enemy of our success. When we are conceited, we tend to belittle others, feel reluctant to learn and receive no support. Leaders who regard themselves as smart are unwilling to open their ears, eyes, and minds to new ideas, learn new things and grow together with their team.
The industry is now growing very rapidly. What was good yesterday is not necessarily good at the present time. Our knowledge and experience might have become outdated to face the new challenges. The field team might understand better about today’s condition and needs, but conceitedness makes those who have the knowledge feel reluctant to advise and discuss.
Once we regard ourselves as the smartest person in the world, our coaching ability will be weakened, because we will be more likely to always give advice and tell the team what to do instead of exploring their ability and potential. The more we believe we are better than the others, the more we make people dependent on us, and not trying to believe in themselves. And when we give wrong instructions and wrong advice, then we are 100% responsible for carrying the burden, because the team does not want to take ownership or responsibility they are not entrusted with since the beginning.
Let’s listen to ourselves, we often say,
“I knew it.”
“I’ve done everything.”
“There’s nothing new here.”
“What can you do?”
Try to review on how much we have explored others’ potential instead of giving instructions, opened discussion instead of teaching, and discussed new knowledge with others instead of becoming a Know It All.
Let’s open our eyes and see how wide the world is, how everything in the world has turned out to be very much faster and more dynamic than it used to be, how the people we lead actually have so great potential to be explored and how they actually need only a few instructions. Make them believe that they are capable, they can be smarter and more knowledgeable, and encourage them to take ownership or responsibility of all the decisions they make instead of depending on us or others.
Our quality as a leader is determined by the quality of our questions to our team. As a coach, we should be able to ask questions that make them understand the reason why they work, why it is important and to whom the work is important. Let them feel, see, hear what happens if the team’s dream comes true, how touching the moment of victory and success is, and make them inspired by their own dreams.
Ask questions that will let them open their eyes and see how worthwhile their jobs are and how meaningful their life is. Share knowledge and provide opportunities for them to see that they actually know what to do, with all the knowledge they have. Have them explore what they know, see and experience to solve their own problems. Help them build commitment for their own decisions. And when they make it, get them to appreciate their success, because not everyone is able to do so. When they fail, get them to dig up what makes them fail and help them learn from failure so they do not give up just because of one failure.
One day we will see how worthless mud can turn into glittering diamonds.
What does it feel like if we are able to make people aware of their greatness, and help them become successful through our questions?
Indira Abidin