The Gift of Experience – Knowing where to tap

The Gift of Experience – Knowing where to tap

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 07.48.33

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 07.48.33

In a time strapped world – where time is precious and a rare commodity, it’s no surprise that when valuing our services – we focus on the time it takes to do something, rather than the time we’ve invested to know how to do something. And the impact we’ve created.

Just this week I was reminded of the value of experience.

Heading on a train to a client ‘inter-agency’ meeting, I had arranged to travel with the person who heads up the client’s PR agency.

As you would expect, we spent the first part of the journey chatting about work, busy lives etc etc.

During our chat – she happened to mention that she was getting some push back from another client on fees. Their view was that, even though she’d solved their problem and saved the day, because she’d been able to deliver something so quickly for them, then it can’t have taken up so much of her time – and how was she justifying the rate.

Were they 100% happy with what she’d provided – YES

Had she 100% met their brief – on time / meeting objectives – YES (and some – she’d saved the day).

What was interesting is that during the conversation she herself started to justify their view – ‘Well, I guess it didn’t take me that long to pull the pieces together for them’.


My question to her:

1)   How long have you been doing what you’ve been doing? The training, the honing of your skill, the years building experience?

Her response… ‘Over twenty five years’.

So, what value then do we give to experience? Colleagues with less experience may have struggled to come up with the goods to fully satisfy the client need in so short a time.

It reminded me of the wonderful anecdote about the cruise ship…

Just as the giant cruise ship was about to depart, fully laden with passengers, the engine failed.

Panic quickly ensued as various teams of engineers failed to restart the engine and the passengers became ever more irate.

A retired ship engineer who lived locally was summoned.

He embarked with his small bag of tools and inspected the engine very carefully. Having completed his inspection, he reached into his bag and pulled out a hammer and gently tapped something.

Instantly, the engine lurched into life. It was fixed.

A week later the owners received a bill from the old man of $10000.

“What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything.” The owners wrote to the old man and asked him to submit an itemized invoice, which he duly did:

The invoice read:

Tapping with a hammer…….. $2.00

Knowing where to tap…….. $9998.00

Love that.

Your Key Takeaway:

Don’t underestimate the value of your experience. Both in honing your art and learning how to overcome challenges.

I’m not saying that experience counts for everything, it doesn’t. You have to have a growth mindset and have been willing and eager to continuously learn over the years too. But experience certainly gives you the learning and growing that can only come through the passage of time and of experiencing a broad range of scenarios.

It gives you the networks you’ve contributed to to draw upon, the relationships you’ve developed.  And the knowledge that comes from experience.

Sometimes, if I can’t make a meeting with a client and I offer to send one of my less experienced members of the team – it’s not unusual that the client is adamant it’s me they want to see.

Now that’s not because they prefer me personally than any of my team – it’s down to the fact that I’m the one with the most experience in our team. I’m the one with the grey hair – so to speak, I’ve been around the block, learned way more than I was ever taught in business school – I’ve put in the 10,000+ hours – and have always been committed to honing (and continue to be committed to hone) my skills.

So the next time you’re being challenged on fees – just ponder the fact that you know exactly where to tap – and rather than value yourself on time to action, value yourself on impact of your action.

Would love to hear your views – tweet me, comment, and share if you too have someone you need to remind about just how ‘valuable’ they really are.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media agency focused on creating authentic engagement. Currently penning her second book: Get Social – Practical Strategies and Tactics for Leaders – to be published by Kogan Page in  Spring 2018. For information about how team Carvill can help you or your team with  social media marketing – either strategy, training or day to day management - simply get in touch.