Monday, January 18, 2010

Exploration not Expertise

It is documented somewhere that 10,000 hours of work make you an 'expert' in any given field. I have also heard it said that if you read 5 books on any topic you become an 'expert' in your researched topical landscape. The problem I have with expertise is the seeming finality to the title. In a constantly developing world how can your proficiency in any given profession assure a timeline of 'end all, be all' knowledge. As if to insinuate there is a cap on knowledge acquisition.

In the world of Employee Rewards, tenure celebration has become synonymous with 'entitlement'. While I cannot envision a time when loyalty to an organization would not be celebrated, I do understand the sensitivity of human boundaries.

We All Want to Share!

Having spent nearly 10 years at a company I elected myself a voluntary mentor to every new recruit that walked through the door. I told him/her the unwritten rules of the company, industry and our operation....guess what? Nobody asked me. I thought because I had endured a highly competitive position for a long time that I knew the 'secret sauce' to success. However, by touting my tenure I came across two realizations:

* The Newbies saw my advice as regulation and no one likes to be tied down.
* Having been in the same position for 10 years without vertical movement was not exactly looked upon favorably.

In Unzip Your Soul, I have proposed to keep your head down in your first 6 months of employment at any given company. This advice has been met with a fair amount of criticism by the 'kick down the door' impact players. I understand the need to make a steady first impression but Bravado diminishes your accomplishments. Get in, be pleasant, take advice and let your results speak for themselves.

This entry level advise can also be conveyed to the elder statesmen (and women) in any given organization. A few things to consider:

* New Hires have a set of personal goals that may include surpassing your achievements.
* When you convey limitations you simply set the bar for New Hires to surpass.
* New Hires share your sentiment to ease into a relationship...
* If you know everything, they will respect that and reach out in due time.
* Wait to be consulted!

I don't believe there is such thing as 'entitlement' nor do I believe in the need to make a lasting first impression. The key to successful professional partnerships is ease of navigation. If you are receptive to new opinions without opposition you will be admired...whether it's your first day or your 10,000th hour on the job.

Be Graceful in your Interaction and people will come knocking for Advice.

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave

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