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Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 in Small Business Today Articles

The last time we were together I was on vacation in Okoboji.  One of the telltale signs of a good vacation is when you have good memories and multiple stories to tell.  Well it must have been a good vacation because I get to tell you about another fun thing that we did, Spikeball.  Well it wasn’t exactly Spikeball, the set we used was a cheap, knockoff version that we called Spikeball and played like Spikeball.

When I first arrived at Okoboji, there weren’t that many people hanging around.  Sons Ted and Ben, Ted’s girlfriend and several cousins were there.  When Ted brought out the knockoff Spikeball set and we started playing, interest from around multiple cabins peaked.  Since a couple of us have never played the game, we needed instructions on the rules, and tips on how to be better players.  Ted and Ben were the “experts” having played several times.

I was partnered with Ben so that games would be competitive.  It turns out that Ben and I were a pretty good team because we won just about every game, against any and all challengers.  It got to the point that I was getting tired, hungry and thirsty.  When we did lose, I wasn’t too disappointed.  Spikeball was a lot more exhausting and more fun than I had imagined. 

Over the week we were in Okoboji, different people came and went.  All the while my wife Joanne wanted to learn how to play, and kept asking for opportunities.  When the weather cooperated and we could find others willing to play (which actually wasn’t hard at all), Spikeball games were on.  Joanne loved playing and when we got back home, she talked me into buying our own knockoff version that we could keep here at the house.  Which actually wasn’t hard at all.  Last Sunday we invited all 5 kids, spouses and friends to our house to play.  Ben also had ordered a set so we actually had 2 games going on most of the afternoon.

What finally hit me on Sunday is that experienced partners can make your team better and two inexperienced teammates will have a much harder time getting into the win column.  As small business owners and managers we can take a lesson from my Spikeball games.  Experience counts.  Experience counts more than raw talent.  In Spikeball, and in business, an average player with a significant amount of experience will outperform almost every newcomer.  If you pair an experienced employee with a talented newcomer, both members outperform the competition.

If you can, hire experience.  If you can match that experience with a talented and eager to learn newcomer, you should see amazing results.  The key is they have to want to work together.  The newcomer has to want to learn from their experienced partner, and the experienced partner has to both want to teach the newcomer, and let the newcomer show off their talent.  Occasionally they will make mistakes, but the wins will far outnumber the losses.

If you’re passing by the Friedman house, and feel like playing or learning Spikeball, knock on the door and we will get a game going!  And if there is time, we will tell you even more stories about our vacation.

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