WHAT IS AN 'EXPERT GENERALIST?'


Ahoy mateys!


The term “expert generalist” was coined by Orit Gadiesh, is an Israeli-American corporate strategist, and chairperson of global management consulting firm Bain & Company.


It's a new way of saying Renaissance Man that fits in to the modern world while also not having to constantly look up how to spell 'Renaissance.'


Orit Gadiesh. I like her face.

She defines an Expert Generalist as someone who has the ability and curiosity to master and collect expertise in many different disciplines, industries, skills, topics and capabilities.


It also means being able to draw on that diverse knowledge base to recognize patterns, connect dots, and improvise on situations.


Think of it as being the Jack/Jill of more than one trade with just enough knowledge to give you an edge.


So, like an Amateur Renaissance Man: without having to be world-class.


In this decade and the last, the dynamic and sometimes fragile economy has necessitated a leaning towards expert generalism. It is fast becoming an essential survival skill. Some writers have argued that that being an expert generalist can be just as beneficial as being a specialist in one specific field.


Now my website is starting to make sense...


I am the guinea pig in the effort to benefit from being an Amateur Renaissance Man!


Here are some ways being an Expert Generalist can help you get ahead.


BROADENING YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASE


Killer knowledge base.

Having more than surface knowledge in two or three fields broadens your reach and your depth. The desire or curiosity to learn about different topics puts you on the path to being a well-rounded individual.


This goes beyond professional curiosity. Reading books from international authors and topics, novels in different genres, poetry from other countries etc, all translate into an eclectic intelligence and reach. It also increases self-awareness.


It certainly has for me already: I've realized how mediocre I am at a variety of disciplines.


Yet, ONWARD!


IT’LL HELP YOU MAKE BETTER CONNECTIONS


When you’re used to being outside your comfort zone, you learn to blend in almost effortlessly with different groups of people.


Being an expert generalist helps you build more connections with more people at with greater ease.


You are better able to understand diverse perspectives and navigate otherwise unfamiliar situations.



YOU’LL HAVE AN OPEN NETWORK


This is an added advantage of being able to build better connections. Not only will you be able to build networks in the different fields or topics you’ve explored, but you’ll also serve as a connector between the people in different groups.



Research has shown that having an open network is a high predictor of career success.


Try to network outside your industry or field and garner beyond surface information about a different field.


It’ll go a long way in your next networking event.



YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE GOOD IDEAS


Because your experience base is diversified and well spread out, you are able to recognize and fix loopholes in your thought patterns both consciously and subconsciously.



IT GIVES YOU A SAFETY NET


Specializing in only one field or remaining narrowly focused leaves you vulnerable to the ever more present forces of change.


Staying in the bubble of your job or field will do you no good in the long run.


Society is changing and the economy along with it. The increasing popularity of short term work, new industries coming up and more unconventional ways to make a living, having the low down on two or three other industries could help you in the long run.



YOU’LL BE COOLER


The Fonz.

Well, maybe not as cool as 'The Fonz' but you will be somewhat cooler.


Do you consider yourself an expert generalist?


Please share your thoughts!


This post was modified and edited from an original article by Jiji Majiri Ugboma