Should You Strive To Be An Expert In Everything In Your Field?

This post was adapted from a previous submission to a BeMo newsletter.

“Should you strive to be an expert in everything in your field?” This is a question that took me years to answer for myself and ironically the answer came to light through a personal experience.

Doctor with Stethoscope

Years ago my ear, nose, and throat doctor was evaluating me for a second surgery to correct a new breathing problem I was having. After having such great success with my last surgery, I put all of my faith in him to perform my next operation. What happened after I left the office was something I was not expecting. After some time had passed, my doctor called me personally to tell me that he felt my current issue with my nose is something that he can do; however, he really felt I needed an expert who specialized in external facial surgery to correct my current problem. His expertise was more internal.

I have extreme respect for my doctor who knew where his expertise was and was not. He even recommended a surgeon who he already personally evaluated based on the work done on his own son after a dog bite to the face. My doctor did not just send me off on my own, he personally explained the situation to my new doctor and even wrote a letter on my behalf to my insurance company to negotiate for reimbursement. I felt like I was working with a team, not just one person to achieve the best results I could get.

Over the years, I have personally applied this approach to what I do with customers. I will let them know where I am an expert at and where I am not. While it might seem like everyone can be an expert at everything within their field, that just isn’t practical. What worked for me instead was to decide what my specialty is and partner with someone else who has a complementary specialty. I find that this approach works well for several reasons:

  1. Customers appreciate my honesty
  2. I can recommend the best comprehensive solution
  3. I can eliminate things from my head that I do not want to specialize in and leave that knowledge to true experts

BeMo is a great example of a company that I partner with for these reasons. Their expertise is hosting and that is what they focus on. Just like my customers count on me to know all the ins and outs of scheduling and configuring with Microsoft Project/Project Server/Project Online. This partnership helps me to provide a best practices, customer tailored, solution.

As illustrated in my personal story above, I could perform the role of two different doctors. First by creating a hosted solution and second by configuring it, but there is no way for me to be an expert at two things which require years of practice, experience and constantly pushing the limits of knowledge to stay on top of the latest updates. Instead, I choose to be a scheduling expert and I hope you respect me for that decision.

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9 thoughts on “Should You Strive To Be An Expert In Everything In Your Field?”

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