Can depth of experience end up hindering performance? Malcolm Gladwell, in Outliers, writes about the 10,000 hour rule. He suggests that in order to become a leader in your field you must work at it extensively, putting in those 10,000 hours practice and gaining the necessary experience in the process.
However, increasingly a more diverse knowledge-base is taking over as a more valued quality when it comes to employment.
Adaptability is what many employers now want, above experience or a list of qualifications. What implications does this have?
Have We Had Enough of Experts?
The Reed recruitment group has conducted research and found that 96% of the business owners it questioned favoured attitude over experience. If it came down to choosing a candidate with the right qualifications or one with the right mindset, then mindset would be the favoured choice. The same sort of preference applied to retaining staff.
If they had to let someone go, two-thirds of respondents would consider the right attitude as the most important attribute, rather than experience
During last year’s Brexit referendum, the suggestion that the experts should be ignored was a controversial one, but it appeared to pay off.
With employers, it’s not so much a case of them not valuing expertise, but rather that they want something more. In the Reed survey, one of the qualities business owners valued as being to do with the right attitude was adaptability.
Businesses need to be agile and flexible in a changeable marketplace and they need the people they employ to demonstrate their adaptability and willingness to take on, or come up with, new ideas and ways of doing things.
Grace Under Pressure
This requires people to be both accepting and proactive; to willingly embrace change but also to challenge accepted norms to come up with alternative solutions.
Think of the pressurised environment as a sales pitch. If the client is not buying into one idea, you must think on your feet to adapt your concept to suit, to win the pitch.
Adaptability within an organisation means being willing to take on new roles and deal with unexpected developments, to ride out surprises and not get stressed by these changes and demands made of you
It’s a kind of grace under pressure – holding your composure, staying positive, and contributing in a dynamic manner.
Both employees and employers must face the challenge of adaptability, and how to integrate it into their work culture.