Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Experience

Posted on: June 1, 2011

Couple of weeks back, we were asked to calculate the total ‘Person Years’ of CRM Experience we have (as a company). We started digging into the employee database, joining dates etc., and finally arrived at a number: 225 Person Years!

Very impressive number. Given the fact that human life expectancy is much less than this, we couldn’t even imagine or visualize 225 years of CRM Experience. But it was a good feeling to know the number (and guess what, it keeps changing every day, if you are a large organization!)

Few days after this exercise, I went to a small hospital for some treatment. I was attended by two doctors – But they both were very young, looked more like college students, obviously lacking any experience. I was a bit worried about this and asked them if I can meet a senior physician.

Fortunately, they didn’t get offended. They told me that they will only do the initial check-up and the actual treatment will be done by their senior.

After the check-up, we were waiting for this senior to arrive. So we started chatting. I learnt that these two doctors studied together, graduated couple of years back, and working here to gain experience. They may setup their own clinic after few years, if everything goes well.

Few minutes later, the senior doctor arrived. She quickly glanced at the test results, spoke to her colleagues for couple of minutes and started the treatment.

While she was busy with the treatment, I couldn’t stop wondering at the way the two junior doctors behaved. One of them (a girl) was very active and helping her senior in whatever way she could. Whenever some additional medicines were required, she literally ran around the room to fetch them and carefully watched the whole treatment procedure. It was obvious she was trying to learn as much as possible from this treatment process.

But her colleague / ex-classmate (a boy) was in a totally different world. He was waiting for instructions from his senior and only when he was asked to see / observe the treatment procedure, he came near us. Otherwise, he maintained a safe distance and simply stood there, waiting for further instructions to come.

Few years down the line, both these junior doctors would have exactly the same ‘Person Years’ of experience and may start their own clinics. But I can clearly see who is going to be a better Doctor.

May be, we should start looking at the concept of ‘Experience’ differently; it’s not just the time period, but the way we are learning / being proactive / applying the knowledge which makes us better, especially when we are on the bottom of learning curve. Someone who is doing exactly the same kind of work for 10 years, may have ’10 years of experience’ in theory, But in reality, it is only 10 times ‘1 year of experience’, or worst, 120 times ‘1 month of experience’.

Repeating the same task multiple times, with amazing perfection and quality… Isn’t it a machine feature? Human factor comes in only when you grow and constantly improve!



N. Chokkan …

01 06 2011


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