Why do most find the road bumpy after 40 years. The KNOWLEDGE EXPERIENCE MATRIX

I have been working on the matrix that I have created and after some research on the subject, I am putting it open for discussion. This is based on my learning, findings and understanding on how the experience that someone gains and the knowledge that someone acquires is linked as his grows in his career and why do some succeed immensely, while most of them fail. It also gives insights on why the age of 40 to 45 is very critical for anyone in his career.

To explain the relation between the knowledge and experience; I have devised a 2X2 Matrix. Based on this matrix, there are 4 derivatives:-

Matrix 1

These are those people, who are highly knowledgeable and well experienced. They have worked in the market and have the ground level understanding of the market. They keep on upgrading their knowledge base, and sync it with organizational goal, to formulate strategies and then while implementing; they work the market to know how it is progressing.  Given their busy schedule, they may not have the adequate time, however, they definitely find time atleast 3-4 days a month to be there in the market and understand how the strategies are behaving.

These are basically successful Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, General Managers, Vice President etc. These are people with lot of humility and a lot to give. They keep on upgrading their knowledge base, through a lot of study and interaction.

Matrix 2

These are those people who are highly experienced in their field. They know all that is needed to do their work. Their knowledge base although good, is limited. They keep on excelling in their career and keep on doing well upto a level, beyond this they find it difficult to grow further. This is because of too much of involvement in their current work and less time in upgrading knowledge. Let’s understand clearly – at some point of time in the career, if one has to gown, he cannot say all the time that he has a huge experience with him (10 years, 15 years 20 years), he need knowledge that is broad and insightful. At this level most of the personnel don’t have the adequate time to acquire knowledge, this is because most of the time they are executing. Now, if you are not ambitious, and know your limits, its ok with you and you will keep on doing well. But if you are ambitious and want to excel further in life, this will add to frustration.

Most of the time people get stuck at one level. For those who luckily make the move to the next, are most of the time not able to do justice to the new role, and are bound to come back to the level where they were earlier. This is because experience will only help you to crack and interview; but getting the job done after you have joined in requires a lot of intrinsic expertise and that comes through knowledge. Again, knowledge is of two types, acquired and earned. There is a lot of difference in both. Acquired knowledge comes though discussion with friends and talking to people, this does help in getting some information, but the authenticity is always questionable. Earned knowledge, is where you make the effort to learn though reading of books, magazine and newspapers. This is more authentic and gives one a better understanding while targeting the next level.

Another caution in this is that most of the time, people try to replicate what they did successfully in their organisation earlier, in the new organisation. It is not necessarily true that what happened right with one thing in the previous organisation, will also be right in the new one. The product, customers, marketing all could be different. Most of the people do this; they replicate the old strategies in the new organisation they join. If they taste success it’s ok, if not they get blocked. I am strictly against using old strategies with old companies in new companies you join. Be careful, world is changing at a very rapid pace, what seems right today, may be invalid 10 years from now. So while all may look good now, if you don’t upgrade yourself, difficulty may start coming in 10 years later.

All of us must have seen in our work life, that most of the time we see people, only reaching upto one level. All through his life, he remains an RSM/Branch Head and quits at this level. In one way it’s correct. It needs lots of courage to access one’s potential, if one feel that this is what max he can do, he should remain where he is and continue his work.

 

These are basically successful Area sales managers, Regional Sales Managers, Key Account Managers, Marketing Managers etc. These are people with lot of insecurity, are try not to give more chance to their juniors, because of the fear that this person may rise and replace him in future. Some of them create a fearful environment, where the subordinate is only able to do the number and his job is secured. This is what he is doing most of the time.

Matrix 3

This is another interesting matrix. These are basically all those people who are pass outs from top notch biz school.  They are highly knowledgeable, upgraded with latest trends in the market. However, they are more of bookish and less of market. They are people who are bosses, sit in the office, have regular meeting, with a lot of data around, creating an ocean of data analysis and interpretation. As they come from large B-School, they never take advice, talk to someone as they know everything. They have the ability to make great business plans and presentations. Their presentation and ideas get them applause from the management, and they get the green signal to implement the plan. This is where the problem starts. Since all the plans are based on theories and studies, they start facing problems when it comes to implementation. What is written in the books is quite different with what happens in the market. As the plan starts to deviate, they loose the cool and start putting pressure below, as theoretically the plan should not fail, but practically it does. Until and unless they don’t move to the market to have a better understanding, executing plan will be difficult.

 

These are basically graduates from top notch B- School, with a lot of ego. Mostly they treat people under them as if their team does not know anything. They carry a lot of ego and attitude. They are not willing to loose and would do anything to get success, which unfortunately they don’t

Matrix 4

These are people with less experience, and less knowledge. The people on the base of the pyramid. It is always advisable not to give high responsibility to these people, they are good at doing monotonous task and they do it well. They are people who stick around in an organisation for long at the level in which they are, they are non-risk takers and sometime irritants to business, always poking, raising useless issues. Even if they quit an organisation, they will join at the same level or a level higher in the frontline.

These are basically successful Sales officers, Sales executives, Key Account Executives, Account Executive, Sr. Sales Officer. etc. They can only do the basic work that is important. You cannot expect much from them

While we all agree that people transform/elevate from one level to  the another, it is very important for all those who want to grow in their career, no matter in what field they are, only if they have a cusp of market understanding ( ground reality) and knowledge. The proportion of this may vary at each level, at some level you will need more of market understanding, at some you will need more of knowledge, but in any case of you aspire to reach the top of the pyramid, you need to have sufficient understanding of both. Above all one thing remains constant at any level – human touch. We must always remember, no matter how big the organization is people talk with people, the product never talks to anyone.

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Vijay Sokhi

FMCG – Foods Professional

Business Consulting, Change Management, Sales Management and Motivation

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