Leadership wisdom: do you have it?


Do you know the difference between experience and time spent on the job?  Wise leaders do.  Read the following story taken from Understanding Your Role As A Leader.   I will not make any conclusions or issue any challenges.  Both of those are up to you.


            Early in the 20th century the Campisano family move from Italy to

            North America.  Finding himself in a new country and in a new

            culture, and without the ability to speak English, Al Campisano,

            the oldest of the children, at age eleven, began his American

            educational experience in the first grade….


            I have often wondered what Al Campisano was learning in the first

            grade that the other students were not.  When I met Al in the 1970s

            …he and his brother Guy were the owners and operators of a

            multimillion dollar business named the AL CAMPISANO FRUIT

            COMPANY.  Al and Guy had become highly respected business

            and community leaders in Louisville, Kentucky…


            Sal Campisano was a brother to Al and Guy and he was employed

            by the fruit company as a dock worker.  At that time, I was part

            owner of a small wholesale produce business and a large portion

            of what I sold came from the Campisano brothers.  One morning

            while I was paying my bill, Guy and I were standing in his office

            from where we could see out onto the sales loading area.  Looking

            in that direction, I saw Sal.  Out of curiosity, I asked Guy, “How

            long has Sal been working here?”


            “About nine years,” responded Guy.


            “Then why is he still working on the dock?” I asked.  “He is a 

            family member and has nine years experience.  Why is he not

            in management?”


            To which Guy responded in a way that I will never forget.  He

            said to me, “Mark, you don’t understand.  Sal doesn’t have

            nine years of experience.  He has one year of experience and

            has had it, nine times.”*  


*Mark T. Sorrels, Understanding Your Role As A Leader, (Bloomington, IN, Xlibris Corporation, 2011),11-12.