Application, Adaptation, and Abandonment...Plus Observation
The effective use of experience involves knowing which skills and insights to apply to the new environment, which must be adapted, and which must be abandoned, at least temporarily.
The story of the great sales rep who becomes a mediocre sales manager is one of a person failing to realize the skills that brought success in the previous job are not the same skills needed for the new one.
An aspect of the entire application, adaptation, and abandonment issue is a willingness to look for lessons in unlikely areas. A reason why we may refill jobs but never truly replace people is that individuals bring unique mixtures of talent and knowledge. It is entirely possible, perhaps probable, that you have caught yourself using certain insights in your current job that came from a source that no one would suspect. I recently heard a man describing how his work as a summer camp counselor during his college years helped him to understand certain types of behavior. He's using lessons from an experience that is not on his job application.
Likewise, we need to open our minds to such lessons. What is the management wisdom to be drawn from a serious illness, a termination, an early success, a touching stage drama, a canceled flight or a championship basketball game?