The consultants of Design Group International™ meet annually to network, learn and encourage one another. At our last gathering I led a session under the title: Becoming an expert with your expertise.
Here are a few highlights:
- Expert can mean any variety of things and some people anoint themselves as experts when in fact they are not.The definition of expert Design Group International™ works from is: Converting and offering wisdom that grows from extraordinary proficiency.
- To remain an expert, one must be committed to lifelong learning. Over time expertise deteriorates toward ignorance. So as one seeks to continue gaining insight, they must run a certain progression: data becomes information becomes insight becomes knowledge becomes wisdom. Using this wisdom properly is an art of effectively applying knowledge to special circumstances in helpful ways.
- To remain an expert, one must also be committed to lifelong crafting of their skill(s). The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell points out that it takes 10,000 hours to become a proficient expert in something. That is 5 years full time!
- To be perceived as an expert, one must be committed to lifelong development of relationships. An expert who is not perceived as such is in the same place as the non-expert. This is especially true of relationships with other experts, especially in one’s area(s) of knowledge and skill. An expert should not be threatened by the knowledge or skill of other experts. Instead, they should be helpful to their field. Being helpful to their field is an expert’s volunteerism zone.
We covered a considerable amount of material in that session, much more than what I’ve produced here. Some of it was proprietary and was for our consultants alone. Still, I think these insights help most anyone distinguish between an expert and someone who claims to be.
In brief. If a potential consultant, coach, advisor, contractor, etc. says: “You need our help,” keep on looking. They haven’t learned anything new for awhile. If, however, they say, “Tell me what you need to do and what you are willing to do,” you might have a lifelong learner on your hands. Give them serious consideration.
-mark l vincent