I'm not underestimating experience and this is not another plea to let these talented young people run the business. However, there are some caveats to focusing on experience only:
- Experienced people bring their past, for better or for worse. Yes, they are experienced, but they are also very dependant on what worked for them in the past, whether it matches your new org or it doesn't. You get less flexibility when you hire for experience only. So, when you do, look for someone with the right experience and, sometimes, acknowledge that there is no-one with the right experience, because your business is that unique -and you need to promote someone from inside the org with a fresh view.
- Experienced people bring their ego and know-how to the table. Put a few of these in the same room, and what do you get? Endless discussion, much less agreement. When you're hiring for experience, make sure you hire a group that's not too heterogeneous.
- Experienced people tend to hire people from the same school o thought. How do you refrain from groupthink? Well, understand this and you've got a cornerstone for top performing teams. You need to make sure your experts are sometimes out of their comfort zones, because if they're not, you'll get a replication of their old work place.
- Finally, experienced people underestimate formal training in the work place. Why? Because they've seen it all. Not having a decent training program (very common practice in the hi-tech industry) gets you to the point where each person speaks their own language, and a tower of Babylon in far from the ideal way for properly managing risk.
If you have a unique blend of risks in your org, if you have a new language to develop, if you need a fresh look at things, do not underestimate hiring young, inexperienced yet talented people, and trusting them with aspects of your operation. Do not, however, forget that by doing so you must commit to proper training, documentation and feedback – or else you’ll get all the childhood sicknesses you can ever imagine. Balancing your org to be a flexible Risk Management unit is a tough job.