You Cannot Fast Track Experience and Exposure

Early in my career with Abbott Laboratories (1990/1991), I met with the head of human resources for the Hospital Products Division (HPD), which is now known as Hospira, to discuss how to advance at Abbott.  Tim Ring was the head of H.R. at the time and among other things he gave me the book, “The Lessons of Experience: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job.”  That book changed my life and taught me the true lessons of experience….seek out diverse, challenging and turn around (risky) situations, opportunities and experiences.

Art Briles is the Coach of the Estra Guelfi Firenze American Football Team located in Florence, Italy. Briles was the head coach of the Houston Cougars from 2002 to 2007 and the Baylor Bears from 2008 to 2015. He is also the author of Beating Goliath: My Story of Football and Faith (2014).  I really like his quote, “I don’t care if you have all the money in the world, you cannot buy (personal) experience.”

Linda McCauley, a good friend and the current Dean of the Nursing School at Emory University once said in a meeting:  “You cannot fast track experience and exposure.”

In many instances, the question one should be asking is not where and how do I get promoted from where I am today but rather what experiences do I have and what experiences do I lack and how can I get those experiences so one day I will be ready to do more. And, one should also ask, have I gotten everything I can get out of my current role?

By the way, Tim Ring went on to be the General Manager of an international operation at Abbott which led him to an international position with C.R. Bard…..he has been CEO there for some 16 years.