Energy vs. Experience

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!

Twitter: @asanvicente



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Villaseñor Múzquiz says:

    i agree!

    “practice makes perfect.”

    1. Exactly!, thanks for your comments and thanks for reading!

  2. Nancy Burrola says:

    Arturo — I agree – absolutely! And the experienced worker must discreetly guide the “newbie” being careful not to overpower or stifle their creativity! I am enjoying your blog!

    1. Mrs. Burrola! Thanks for your comments!, I will be sure to keep you posted! Say hello to Ray for me! Hopefully I will go to NMMI this year!

  3. Ale Cavazos says:

    Arturo, in your opinion, how do you achieve that optimal balance between “rookies” and “veterans”?

    It seems to me that companies are having more and more human turnover than before and those in more experienced positions tend to take the hit. I believe that this may harvest feelings of resentment towards the rookies (in no fault of their own) and hinder cooperation as a whole….

    1. In my belief, to optimize that balance you need cooperation from both parties. For rookies I think its better to learn as much as possible, and then step up. For veterans, I think that to avoid taking that hit, they need first to set up the youngsters good by empowering them and give them a role where they can develop leadership and management skills, leverage power and then move on. Veterans need to step aside and move on to another position to allow these new players to take that lead. When I say step aside that doesn’t mean retiring, it means taking on new positions (business), or taking different roles so that they find that position where they fill in properly (sports). They need to avoid falling into a comfort zone. Now, no offense to any veteran, they deserve all of my respect for being the pillars of every company and principal caretakers of a sports team, don’t take me wrong, but to my belief this is how a renewal model should be done, constantly taking on challenges for everyone, youngsters and veterans. For this model to work, the top management team in any business or sports team should be aware of it and put it into practice. Most likely, careers will become shorter in any place, but this way, companies and sports team will take more advantage of individual’s prime years. Although it is sometimes hard to identify when a youngster “is ready”, it is up to them to take on that challenge and make the most out of every opportunity. I hope these comments are not taken in a negative way, my two cents.

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