Experience Vs Perseverance: Let’s do the Maths

Lauren Steadman paralympian athleteWatching our very own Lauren Steadman cross the finish line at the London World Series, ahead of vastly more experienced and 3 times unbeaten champion, Faye McClelland, it got us thinking – What’s the most valuable performance quality, Experience or Perseverance?

Lauren, a former Paralympian swimmer, made the change to Paratriathlon after the London 2012 games.  To change discipline was a huge risk at this stage of her career. But this was a calculated risk, based on how strong her swimming was in comparison to other Paratriathletes.

So the risks were calculated. Now all that was needed was a healthy dose of perseverance in order  to turn the risks into reality. Meanwhile, Faye McClelland had experience in bucket loads, she was World Series Champion before Lauren had even taken up the sport… The clear favourite.

In a commercial context, experience understandably appears to be a very strong performance quality. However, gone are the days where experience counts for everything in business. In this new world of cloud computing, virtual teams and the speed of technological advancement, businesses have to work harder to grow – and they need to get creative to achieve this growth. Occasionally we even see some negatives walking hand-in-hand with experience. Negatives like complacency and the dreaded rationale of “because this is how it’s always been done”. 


Risk taking, however, is often viewed less positively as a performance quality. But some of the most innovative business ideas are born out of a determination to follow calculated risks through. This approach isn’t just good for business, it’s how some of the great pioneers have changed the world.


Lauren took a calculated risk, based on her strengths, and she’s certainly had the courage of her convictions.  Her training has been relentless, and her goal clear – to win gold at the first ever Olympic Paratriathlon at the Rio Games. Lauren personifies the risk reward benefit that can be gained when perseverance follows a calculated risk – and in the process neatly shows how this approach can triumph over experience.

Business leaders could learn a lot from Lauren – which is exactly why she’s our star ambassador….