Experts are in … generalists are out!
I realize this statement may shock some of you, but it is my opinion that today companies look for people who have a specialized know-how, skill-set, knowledge-base, and proficiency that can help them run their businesses better. Just consider the continuation of companies’ outsourcing specific jobs to professional groups who have specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Buying expertise (outsourcing) contrasted to building expertise (investing in the workforce) hasn’t always been common. There was a time when companies hired and trained their workforce to complete all job tasks, but something happened along the way to change all of that. And that change in attitude and action is now standard among most companies … it is widespread. And while the change has been slow in coming, it seems it will never return to the way it was. But what brought about this change?
It is my opinion that three main factors help usher expertise as ruler: Globalization, Technology, and Attitude.
Almost every organization can boast of having a diverse workgroup. Some of the workers may be housed in the same facility and interact with each other face-to-face on a regular basis, while other workers may be half-way around the world and never see each other. Similarly, an organization’s customers, competitors, contract workers, regulators, and shareholders may be local and global. What this means is that each stakeholder (employee, customer, competitor, contract worker, regulator, and shareholder) has its own set of ethics, values, morals, beliefs, and assumptions as well as its own goals and expectations. Today, an organization must be aware of the similarities and differences among its stakeholders because each wants something a little different from the other. Therefore, an organization needs people who are specialists in many areas.
Steady and rapidly changing technology makes it easier to retrieve information more quickly and more fully than ever before. In fact, the Internet has made it easy for almost anyone to get information. While this is the good news because it helps us stay up-to-date, there is the bad news. First, the source of the information can be questionable since almost anyone can post almost anything on the Internet regardless of their expertise. This leads to suspecting the reliability of the information as well as the author. Secondly, as changes occur rapidly in the world, it is nearly impossible to be current at any one given time. This means information is almost a commodity. However, there is a bright spot … it matters how we use the information to become an expert; process is as important as content. So, again, someone dedicated to a particular field can be of great help.
At one time, the attitude about careers was that you picked one and stayed with it. Career changes happened infrequently, and with some people in some careers never at all. Today, the attitude about careers is different. Changes in careers occur more often. Today changing careers is often seen as focusing on improving oneself through various experiences, on broadening and deepening one’s understanding and using knowledge. Today, if the career-changer has broadened and deepened his knowledge, skill, and ability he is considered to be the valued knowledgeable authority.
Attitude plays a big part in becoming an expert because it reflects’ one’s outlook on life in terms of how one thinks, feels, acts, believes, and deals with complexities and changing conditions. We often hear of flexibility as a key attitude trait. Yet, developing and maintaining the right attitude is easier said than done especially when one’s basic core ethics, values, morals, beliefs, and assumptions are challenged.
Plan for Expertise
Prioritizing is all about establishing what is important and what is not is important. While this includes setting specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and time-driven goals, it increasingly is more apparent that learning-by-doing is taking on more importance. Getting your hands dirty and learning from successes and mistakes are vital. Volunteering for projects, interning with companies, and offering up your knowledge, skills, and abilities for free are more common now than ever before. Critically thinking, analyzing, and objectively arriving at a sound conclusion set apart those who succeed from those who do not. College degree seeking people should concentrate in an area.
Learning to get noticed by others helps make a distinction between succeeding and falling short. In this context there are two fundamental principles. One, get acquainted with those people who know more about something that you want to know more about, i.e. experts. Two, while developing your expertise, identify the target audience who values what you have or will have. If others are unaware who you are and what you can do, then your expertise is less useful.
In summary, this article proposed that becoming an expert is essential in being successful in today’s competitive marketplace.
In conclusion, the more you believe in yourself, the greater the chances of your career success. Stay hungry and stay focused. Lastly, do not worry about failing, you will at sometime in your life. Focus on succeeding.