Throughout their careers, managers and employees develop a clear understanding of how processes are followed correctly, which solutions work and which views are correct. They get a feel for what customers want, how employees should be managed and how the company needs to be strategically aligned. This knowledge is the asset of experienced employees. But this asset can be a barrier when it comes to manage change and innovation.
Experience is a good pilot. It is indispensable for making decisions from the gut. Imagine if you had to perform a thorough analysis before making any decision. You wouldn’t even be able to get to work on time in the morning. Breakfast or not? The light shoes or the black shoes? Take the car or take the train? Read the whole newspaper or just what’s important? To answer all these questions, your head knows a fantastic abbreviation: Experience. “I’ve always driven a car.” Period. “I always start reading the newspaper on page 3.” We only think about things when they are fundamental. Once the decision has been made, please don’t touch it again.
Your experience makes you as a person unique. Unfortunately, there’s a downside. In times of disruptive change, it becomes a barrier. Innovation strategies are developed based on yesterday’s experiences, the results of a trend analysis are interpreted in such a way that they fit into the experience scheme of the past. If you hold on to experiences, there is always the danger that many things will remain as they have always been. Tomorrow’s problems are tackled in the same way as yesterday’s challenges. If you rely exclusively on yesterday’s experiences, you’ll quickly stay with the old instead of managing change and innovation successfully.