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Pesce on Expertise

Mark Pesce’s in my brain again, or rather, still.


If you know something that others want to know, they will find you.

In addition to everything else, we are each a unique set of knowledge, experience and capabilities which, in the right situation, proves uniquely valuable. By sharing what we know, we advertise our expertise. It follows us where ever we go. Because this expertise is mostly hidden from view, it is impossible for us to look at one another and see the depth that each of us carries within us.

Every time we share, we reveal the secret expert within ourselves. Because we constantly share ourselves with our friends, family and co-workers, they come to rely on what we know. But what of our colleagues? We work in organizations with little sense of the expertise that surrounds us.

Before hyperconnectivity, it was difficult to share expertise. You could reach a few people – those closest to you – but unless your skills were particularly renowned or valuable, that’s where it stopped. For good or ill, our experience and knowledge now extend far beyond the circle of those familiar to you, throughout the entire organization. Everyone in it can now have some awareness of the talents that pulse through your organizations – with the right tools in place.

And then:

Every employee in an organization has a specific set of talents, but these talents are not evenly distributed. Someone knows more about sales, someone else knows more about marketing, or customer service, or accounting. That’s why people have roles within an organization; they are the standard-bearers for the organization’s expertise.

Yet an employee’s expertise may lie across several domains. Someone in accounting may also provide excellent customer service. Someone in manufacturing might be gifted with sales support. A salesman might be an accomplished manager. People come into your organization with a wide range of skills, and even if they don’t have an opportunity to share them as part of their normal activities, those skills represent resources of immense value.

If only we knew where to find them.

You see, it isn’t always clear who knows what, who’s had experience where, or who’s been through this before. We do not wear our employment histories on our sleeves. Although we may enter an organization with our c.v. in hand, once hired it gets tucked away until we start scouting around for another job. What we know and what we’ve done remains invisible. Our professional lives look a lot like icebergs, with just a paltry bit of our true capabilities exposed to view.

I gotta build this thing and get it out there…
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