Experience is something you get right after you need it.

“He just doesn’t have enough experience to draw upon.  He’s never been in a moment like this before.”

That was the quote from one of the analysts talking about Rory McIlroy’s collapse during the final round of the 2011 Masters.  They were talking about how in his first big spot in a major championship, there wasn’t a previous experience that Rory could tap to calm down and provide the confidence needed to finish strong and close for the win.

As with golf, work, or anything else, there are two types of skills that come from experience. The first is simply the technical knowledge necessary to accomplish the task in front of you.  Once you have a few projects under your belt, skills like negotiating a lease or managing the construction process are pretty straightforward.  You can go back and draw upon those experiences to guide the next project.  There are plenty of service providers out there with the technical experience to work through a deal and get it done.

The other skill is a little less tangible and a lot harder to find.  That’s the ability to keep calm as the stakes get higher.  As deals get more complex, timing gets tight, and valuations climb, there are fewer and fewer people that can remain calm, keep counter-parties under control, and get the deal closed.  Staying calm and controlling the situation requires experience with complicated deals, the ability to think creatively and confidence in the technical skills referenced above.

It’s not easy to identify at the outset, but finding a service provider that can remain calm and execute as the pressure mounts is a valuable asset and a worthwhile addition to your team.

And as for Rory, clearly that experience was helpful. He won the US Open a month later and another three Major tournaments after that.

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