Experience Versus Education

Is on-the-job experience more important than what you're taught in the classroom?

6 February 2009

A recent Center for Creative Leadership study found that only 10 percent of the knowledge needed to become an effective manager is learned in the classroom. Companies emphasize training courses to build their employees’ leadership skills, yet the study concluded that the best way to acquire such skills is through experience gained by working on challenging assignments.

Do you think on-the-job experience is more important than formal training when it comes to learning how to manage people?


Responses to November’s Question

A Virtual Strip Search?

The European Union has voted to block the installation of new scanners that allow airport security personnel to see through passengers’ clothes to detect concealed objects, though their bodies are blurred. The scanners have already been in use in several airports across the globe. Critics say scanners are the equivalent of a virtual strip search and could make travelers feel violated. But after the machines were installed in Amsterdam last year, airport officials there said they had few complaints from travelers, many of whom didn't mind because security checkpoints moved faster.

How would you feel about having to go through this scanner?


Yes to Airport Security!

As an overweight, middle-aged male who once used between 120 000 and 150 000 frequent-flyer miles per year, I welcome the opportunity to improve the efficiency of security at airports, especially in Boston, Los Angeles, and London. People who feel such scanning is overly intrusive could participate in a separate trial machine. Modesty, personality, personal experience, and religion may be factors in one’s reticence or resistance.

Peter Bloomfield
Double Bay, Australia


Secure the Personnel

I wouldn’t mind walking through such a scanner because it increases airport security and claims to reduce queuing times. But in using this technology, I’m concerned about the professionalism and maturity of security personnel. Is there a technology to monitor them, and would they agree to its use?

Shane Clifford
Limerick, Ireland


Meet the Standards

Airport scanners are an excellent idea. The only problem is hiring qualified people to monitor them. You must employ those who are generally interested in searching for contraband and weapons and can dutifully protect a person’s privacy.

David Gray
Waco, Texas


Wanted: Full Metal Jacket

This question isn’t exactly intellectually honest. The question should have been “How would you feel about going through a full-body X-ray machine at an airport?”

If the question had been properly depictive of the actual type of machine the public is going through, my answer would have been no. I don’t like it and don’t want to be exposed to any level of radiation as a condition of flying. Any type of machine that exposes the public to radiation is not in the public’s best interest.

Randal South

No Shame

I do not have a problem with scanners that see through clothes. I recognize, though, that I am unusual. As a nudist, I don’t care who sees my body. But if I don’t need to get my shoes x-rayed, hooray!

I can easily understand if people in textiles don't like it.

Paul Schnizlein
Austin, Texas


Big Brother Is Back

I live in a post-Communist country, and this question made me think about how we are slowly erasing things from our lives. The right to privacy no longer exists. Our children are conceived in a world with sensors, scanners, and cameras. They use broadband mobile communication everywhere, all the time.

All of their memories will be digital and easily modified, which reminds me of George Orwell’s novel 1984. Big Brother is watching you.

Tsvetan Filev
Sofia, Bulgaria

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