For a company – the HR staff, the senior execs and even the employees – it’s easy to confuse seniority with experience.
Seniority is simply a measure of time spent at a company. If you’ve been there 1 year you’re less senior than if you’ve been there 10. That’s all seniority is.
Experience is a measure of the skills, knowledge and know-how accumulated. If you’ve worked in 5 different industries you have different skills than if you’ve worked in 1. It’s much harder to measure than seniority.
In fact, it’s for that precise reason that companies (startups and established companies alike) have put more emphasis on seniority than experience. Most, have no idea what experience specific rolls require. Do we need squiggly careers or more linear ones? Do we need practical or theoretical knowledge?
The assumption was that time-spent (seniority) equaled experience, but it’s increasingly apparent that isn’t the case. A new recruit with a breadth of experience probably has more value than the senior exec who hasn’t updated his knowhow.
This doesn’t mean seniority is a useless metric, it means it’s a dangerous one to use. Easy yes, but dangerous.
Many small factors come to together when a team wins – good chemistry, talent, lucky breaks, home advantage. Most of the these can, from time to time, be determining elements. But below that there are two foundations that everything rests on. Without them the chemistry, the talent, the breaks, the advantage can only go so far.
The winning team has a game plan and the right members.
Without a strong plan, team members are lost: not sure of what they need to do. It leads to star status, selfishness and isolation. On the other hand and great plan can only be executed by the right players. If your plan requires a strong left-hand shot and all your players are right handed, the plan will fall short.
A game plan is a theory on how to win. It outlines what you believe needs to happen for success to happen. It even defines what success is. Naturally, it also outlines what’s expected out of each team member. Success relies on a strong, predictable* plan that lies out exactly what success will look like. And then you need the right team members to make it happen. That can lead to difficult choices. Some will have to be let go or moved. Others will be called up to take the place.
If you aren’t going where you feel you need to, look to your game plan and your team.
*predictable doesn’t mean safe, boring and unimaginative. It means the players know what to do and what’s expected.
As soon as my son was born I took two weeks off to be with him and help my wife. Among all the congratulations emails I got from colleagues, one sent me a link to this HBR article: Brave Men Take Paternity Leave. It outlines why men of my generation don’t take time off when their children are born. From the fear of losing out at work all the way through to simply not having any paid leave available, men don’t take time off.
And it’s too bad, it’s proven that father/child time is correlated with lower drug and alcohol use later on, better social adaptability, better grades in school, etc.
I’m lucky, in Quebec where I live, we get up to 5 weeks off and I plan to use them all. Add to that regular vacation time, I’ll be with my son for roughly 2 months this year.
Some companies like Yahoo have taken over and offer paid leave. I think in the end it comes down to each new father and his priorities.
I get the pressures of a career and the illusion that being at your desk matters more than anything, but I hope more of us can appreciate more of that first year of life. Because, in the end, I think we’ll appreciate those moments more than yet another meeting.