Upgrading the Expert Role for the Knowledge Economy shows how knowledge workers can no longer seek refuge in their core expertise, and how to branch out.
“Experts” are regarded as the foremost authorities in their fields, the glib guru versions notwithstanding. An oft quoted maxim shows why: according to Malcolm Gladwell, for one, it takes 10,000 hours [of study, work] for most people to become expert in something.* On a related front, Naveen Jain posits that experts will be less likely to solve today’s toughest problems because their expertise has become a box around them. All those degrees or promotions within the organization have focused their minds but also closed out creativity. While commenting on his post, I realized that redefining the expert would be necessary in the Knowledge Economy, so here I’ll offer some strategies and tactics for how to practice being an “expert” in the 21st century.
Notably, we can take lessons from experts and apply them to specialists, which are arguably less far along on the same vector—and more common.
In Why Lie?, Seth Godin points out that prospects of (B2B) salespeople often lie because they do not want their decisions to be questioned by salespeople: “… when we announce that we’ve made the decision to hire someone else, or when we tell the pitching entrepreneur we don’t like her business model, or when we clearly articulate why we’re not going to do business, the salesperson responds by questioning the judgment of the prospect.”
Great insight, but it pre-supposes a lack of trust that is totally outdated and unnecessary. Let’s review how this comes about and how to disrupt the whole cycle.