Longevity <> Marketability

I watched the premiere of a new show on Discovery Channel last night called “One Man Army” that caught me totally by surprise. The show is billed as “a competition series which sees the toughest of the tough go head to head in events that would sideline regular contestants in an instant”.

As the show began, the young guy firearms instructor was made out to be quite the “portable entertainment center” as his competitors were introduced … a former navy seal, a police SWAT team trained defense contractor, and a U.S. Marshal  (watch the scene here: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/one-man-army-brothers-in-arms/ )

I could tell right away that the young firearms instructor was going to get blown away by the much more experienced group of highly trained professionals.  He had very little real world experience and brought more attitude than anything else to the game.

As I continued to joke about how bad this guy was going to do, he eliminated each of the other competitors, one by one, and ended up winning the competition, sending all three of his opponents home in defeat.  This disturbed me a lot.  Did his age simply trump their experience, or was there something else?

The more I think about it I wonder… did the highly trained veterans rely too much on their experience and fail to stay competitive?  Had their pride in their war stories become their poison?  Had they let their skills wane?

In the business world we have to remember that things are always changing too.  New technology makes what we learned 10 years ago completely obsolete.  Just because we were at the top of our game doesn’t mean we can stop training.  Staying at the top means continuing to learn, for me that means staying current with new technology; reading and exercising my skills in new ways every day.

Attend all the training classes and seminars you can on social media and the latest in technology. Integrate technology into your personal life to increase your fluency in unfamiliar mediums. Read magazines and blogs that keep you current on technology and trends.

In the end I like to think that we can accomplish more as a team than a “One Man Army”, but either way, your years of experience are only an asset to the team when your skills are sharp and up to date.