I am a proponent of “breadth of experience“. I believe that anything you know can only help, and cannot hurt you. I believe that every experience is worth something, and that’s why you should endeavor to make the most out of everything you do. I believe that whatever you do comes back to you in some way – whether through someone you met, something you did or influenced, or something you learned. It all can take you forward.
By the same token, I think we can control to a large degree the experiences and exposure that we have. We can have a big hand in the types of experiences we string together for ourselves that, over time, create a body of seasoned knowledge and wisdom that is uniquely ours and uniquely valuable.
In any situation, there are things we can control, and things we cannot. Wisdom, I think, is the ability to know the difference…and in any case to make the most of the situation. We need to accept that, no matter what, uncertainty is for sure! But we can actually plan for that, to a degree.
We can get better, for example, at making plans by analyzing how our plans in the past have gone. Things rarely go precisely according to plans. But by leveraging our different experiences and earned wisdom, we can better plan for the unexpected. We can hedge our bets with solid risk management and build contingencies that give us more control.
Yes, the more we understand, and the broader our background, the more we can imagine the risks that we face, and the better we can develop strategies for hedging our risks. Breadth of experience and breadth of knowledge – within ourselves, not just in others that might be on our teams – is key to effectiveness and growth.
John Reiling, PMP