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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Calculated Ignorance & Educated Fools

I have been talking with a few of my clients and seminar attendees lately about education and its perceived value in American culture. I hear so many stories of folks with years and years worth of experience who are at the top of their game being let go from jobs in lieu of younger, more technologly-savvy, fresh college graduates. There is a problem rising. Many of these eager youth have little to no real life experience and are only armed with textbook theories in their approach to touchy business situations. They seem to be simply fillers in newly created executive titles with no real input to the future of business.

I am not saying that education is not important. It very much is. I am saying that experience is equally as important. There should be a happy mix of experience and education in every business. Without experience, education can only take you so far. Would you be a willing patient to a surgeon whom had never conducted a surgery but had graduated at the top of his class? I doubt it. Why then would you allow your business to be run solely by an army of the inexperienced? Not only is this a poor business decision it is an incredible risk to your livelihood. There are certain issues that will arise that can only benefit from known best practices. It will save a lot of time, and often money, if you do not have to reinvent the wheel but rather rely on existing information. In essence, what was done in the past that can help you in the current situation?

The bottom line is that in order to protect your bottom line, you have to have a strong knowledge base supported by a strong experience pool. Purposely allowing a bunch of educated fools to run rampant in your business is simply reckless and ignorant.

Happy Living!

1 comment:

Darlene said...

I whole heartly agree that many organizations are opting to hire young people with no work experience...and in some cases questionable educational or lack thereof credentials. There is little or no effort by many business to provide mentoring or the time for young people to know an organizations history or vision. The few companies that do emphasize life-long learning while gaining on the job experience retain a loyal and productive workfore. I recently read John Assaraf's, "Having It ALL" [] in which he states he has throughout his life spent "inordinate amounts of money educating" himself to not only become but also to be considered an expert in his field. This nugget of information says to me that education like experience is dynamic only if you keep working on it and are in an environment that supports and nutures the effort. I am a'grey-panther' opting to stay in secondary education past retirement age. Most likely the only reason the boss lets me stay is that there is not a required retirement age for educators in my school district. If I was in the corporate world I would have been run off, bought out, or stressed out until I resigned....whatever it takes to get my high dollar benefits off the books and on to the government dole. The majority of young people entering my profession are opting out after a few years. Who will build the sense of history or provide the mentoring for the new blood and know what "from the past ..can the current situation" when we few who are seasoned educators leave? The same question applies to business.