Hello to everyone, long awaited weekend, it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and everyone is ready. The George Foreman grills, the cold beers and the big TVs to top it off. Hope everyone has fun and may your favorite team win this game!
Today I’d like to talk to you about energy vs. experience. While this may seem like a debate question, it is to me, a formula.
Let’s start by defining energy: “Energy is a quantity that is often understood as the ability a physical system has to produce changes on another physical system” (source: Wikipedia). It is often understood that the younger a person is, the hungrier he or she is, therefore, the more energized he/she is. In business, the new talent comes in all sorts of shapes and forms, but one thing that is inevitable is that energy that they have. They start sharing new ideas, they want to do new things and it often drives the more experienced people crazy, but they produce that change in their physical system. In professional sports, the rookies are always hungry to learn, to demonstrate, and are eager to get in the game to show what they are made of, and pass on that energy that they have to their teammates, but the lack of experience a lot of times makes these youngsters fail. In business wrong decisions and pressured actions are expected, while in sports dumb plays and mental or unforced errors are common.
Now this is nothing to be afraid of, since the only way to make good decisions is to first make bad decisions. You make mistakes, you learn and move on, and what you end up with is experience. But what happens when you have too much experience but you don’t have that energy anymore to make mistakes, to try new things, to question everything, then you start playing safe. The safer you play, the less you are willing to put up a fight and follow through, and you become easily stopped by the simplest question. Experienced people in business are very wise, and most of times have an unclouded idea about what will work and what will not work. But when it comes to trying new things, it is sometimes difficult to understand, difficult to see and too risky. In sports, successful experienced players adjust, focus on their biggest strengths and skills and take as much advantage as possible. They know it’s hard to rely on speed since it is at some point going to vanish, but to succeed they need to adapt and use what they have, so they get wiser, careful and try to stay in control of the situation. In baseball, we see young pitchers doing 98 mph and succeeding at first, then batters adapt, start hitting them hard, and they don’t know what to do. That’s when experienced players should be sharing that knowledge and help the youngster become better. Then we have pitchers like Greg Maddux, who stopped relying on speed and focused on pitch location to remain in the bigs. That’s a veteran that remained energized and in constant renewal.
So, the question is, what works better for a business or a sports team. Experience or energy?
I am not someone to judge, but to me it seems clear that you need both. No professional team or business should be planned to work in the year at hand. It should be planned up to at least 5 years from now, 10 if possible. If you want to succeed in 5 years, you must have young talent to inject energy and be the catalyzers, to try new things, to innovate and set up new challenges, to motivate the experienced. In the other side, you need the experienced to share knowledge to the newbies, and help them understand situations and scenarios. The experienced ones should be empowering youngsters and learning from them. This way you will have experienced youngsters and energized veterans. If you can accomplish this mix in your team or company, then you will have success not less. Everyone is on the same page, motivation is up, and learning becomes intuitive.
What is more important to you? Experience or energy? Let me know what you think and all ideas are welcome. Have a great Sunday and don’t forget to watch the game!