Understanding the value of Experience

Today I got one of those strange moments of clarity and understanding. I was chatting with a colleague about how she’s fitting into the company.

She’d been here for a couple of months and I think it was helpful for us both to have a discussion about what’s been easy and what’s been hard.

As we were discussing the role, I came to realise that the more we talked, the more I had to say. It was like reliving a job I’d done 15 years ago, because some of the same issues were coming up. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion (and I hope my colleague did too) but it was only after I reflected on it that I realised I was offering ‘words of wisdom’. What a great thing to be able to offer! For the last 12 years we’ve been nose to the grind stone, growing the business. Day in, day out; week in, week out; month in, month out. There was never any real time for reflection. It was always about momentum. Moving forward. Not dwelling too long on any one task. On to the next challenge.

Around a year ago, we appointed MD’s into the operation and Keith and I stepped out of the day to day running of the agency. It’s been hard. Not on them - they’re doing a great job. It’s hard on us. People said it would be hard to let go of the controls, but you never really believe it. You always think ‘how great would it be to have more time?’. Then it hits you like a Sledgehammer.

The agency is whirring away like a well-oiled machine and you can only stand and watch it happening around you - but you can’t touch it! You’ve got to let them get on with it and stick to the new tasks we’ve allocated ourselves. New Business. Networking. Board Meetings.

However, I think today changed things a little. I got an insight into just how much stuff I know about how to build an agency, and how to deal with the challenges some of our people face doing their day to day. Also, because Keith and I have essentially ‘slowed down’ you have the benefit of a different perspective. One that’s clearer, sharper and deeper.

I was able to create a bigger and clearer sense of context for this person. I could help frame how the challenges she faces have been met before and how the decisions she takes around these challenges will impact other areas of the organisation. It felt good to be contributing to the firm in a different way. In a way that helps other people develop and the business grow.

Perhaps it’s obvious that by stepping back from the day to day I knew I’d create more time and space to pass on knowledge to others. But I didn’t get that straight away, because I didn’t ever really consider just how much I knew. I suppose experience is what happens when you’re not thinking about it.

It’s taken about a year for that to really sink in. But today I could really see the value of it and I’m going to make sure I do it again with other members of the team. Lucky buggers!