Companies prize young talent. And rightly so. In an era of instant communication, they need young, tech-savvy leaders who can help them to get things done faster.
Still, speed by itself doesn’t equate to business success. Sydney Finkelstein wrote about this in a recent BBC article. In it, he recalls the classic Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare. It’s the plodding tortoise, and not the speedy hare, that crossed the finish line first.
Experience may not bring speed – but it does bring wisdom and other traits/abilities. Among them:
Perspective – Age brings a greater ability to reflect and put into context what is happening around you.
Deeper compassion – This extends to the people in your life, both at work and at home.
A dose of reality – The illusion of perfection has long gone.
Empathy – “Once you’ve live a little, it becomes harder to go about your work without paying closer attention to colleagues and empathizing with those around you,” writes Finkelstein.
An ability to motivate others – That’s because you better understand what makes them tick.
An appreciation for details – Leaders who have been around the block a few times can’t help but see the nuances and subtleties of work that less-experienced managers do not see.
Acceptance of life’s ups and downs – As Finkelstein puts it, “You’ve seen bear markets and not just bull markets.”
Experienced leaders don’t always make the right calls, of course. But they have a lot going for them. Remember that as you plan your entrepreneurial endeavor. A plodding tortoise isn’t a bad thing.