With all the election frenzie particularly about Republican Vice President candidate Sarah Palin in the blogosphere, it brings me back to the question, does years of experience matter? This post isn’t about whether Palin is qualified, or even whether McCain or Obama should be president. Rather, it’s a general question of work experience.
For many 20 somethings entering the workforce, many working side by side with their elders and having their experience questioned at ever turn. I often hear things like “I have 20 years of experience doing this and that…” Just having 20 years of experience doesn’t equate to quality. For example, 20 years of experience performing clerical accounts payable does not equal three years of experience as CFO. One year of consulting experience at McKinsey is better than five years of experience processing invoices in accounting.
In fact, in consulting, it’s not experience that counts, it’s the ability to use different methodologies and creative thinking to solve problems, both inside, outside, and somethings in and out of the box. It’s not being a subject matter expert by memorization or by doing it all it, it’s the ability to learn a new subject quickly to come up with useful recommendations.
We have an unparalleled depth of both functional and industry expertise as well as breadth of geographical reach. Our scale, scope, and knowledge allow us to address problems that no one else can. At heart, we are a network of people who are passionate about taking on immense challenges that matter to leading organizations, and often, to the world. McKinsey.com
Finally, and also avoiding political discussion but brushing with controversy, Sarah Palin may not have 40 years of experience. She may not have experience in foreign policy, or _________. If, and that’s a big if, she is a good thinker, an innovator, and a leader, then she will be able to shape policy and make great decisions.