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Expertise Matters!

November 21, 2016

Years ago I served as a consultant to two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that worked closely together. At one, the head accountant was a friendly woman who very much enjoyed her job. But on several occasions, there were questions regarding the way the numbers added up and we had to work together to find and fix the errors. One day the president of the other NGO expressed a need for a new accountant and I casually suggested he consider the accountant from the first NGO. He rolled his eyes and commented that her lack of expertise would be a liability on his team.

I’ve thought about that scenario quite a few times since then. There have been occasions where I was clearly out of my league at work. As a young consultant, I struggled so much with the ambiguity of my role that I was frequently unable to sleep at night. I didn’t know what I didn’t know – and worse, I didn’t know who I could ask for help since I was expected to perform anyway. I didn’t want to be like the woman in the first NGO: a friendly and enthusiastic person who couldn’t be taken seriously as a professional.

Expertise isn’t the only critical factor in getting a job done, but it certainly is one of them. In its absence, ideas can’t “tip,” planning gets skewed and results suffer.

Not all of us are required to be the ultimate expert on any given day, but some of us are. Regardless, any expertise you can acquire will go a long way. Here are six ways to build your expertise – regardless of your field.


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Book 3D image v2I’m happy to announce that last week I posted my first ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor: Accelerating the Leadership Journey of Others.

You don’t have to be special to be a leader and you don’t have to be an expert to help other leaders succeed. You can start right now, right where you are.

Trusted Leadership Advisor is a compilation of some of my previous posts on this topic. In the ebook, I show you how to think about your role as a trusted leadership advisor, what to say and how to get started. Take a look – and if you find it helpful, please share it.

I’d also appreciate your feedback. This is my first ebook and I want to know if the format, structure and ideas prove to be helpful for you. You can leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

There’s so much work to do – let’s work together!

In my last post, I gave several reasons why you don’t have to wait until later to be a leadership expert. You can begin to be one right here, right now, no matter who you are. If you’ve bought that idea, then let me share several practical ways you use your leadership expertise to benefit others.


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At a social function recently I found myself in an engaging conversation with a psychologist and a fitness coach. We took turns sharing the interesting nuances of our professions. (For the record, I think psychologists and fitness experts are some of the most interesting people out there!) After my turn explaining the exciting ways I get to be involved in leadership as a consultant, coach and writer, one of my new friends commented that leadership seemed to go hand-in-hand with both psychology and fitness. I asked what he meant. He clarified that commitment to developing a healthy body and a sound mind are some of the first traits necessary to lead both oneself and others. “But,” he added, “I feel awkward presenting myself as a leadership expert. Who am I to say I know what leadership is and that people should listen to me?”


It was such a great question. Who are the real leadership experts anyway? Are they the people who manage Fortune 500 companies, hold elected positions, or write bestselling books? They certainly qualify, but are there others?

As I’ve said before, I believe everyone can be a leader because everyone has the ability to influence others. That means you! I would hate to see anyone stunt their own leadership potential because they felt unqualified. So I want to share some reasons you can be a leadership expert right where you are today.

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