Introduction to Expertship

Written by Grant Heinrich, 14 May 2020

The Challenge

How do we be the most influential and impactful expert that we can be? What are the attributes, skills and experiences that will help us increase our influence and impact as experts? Such self-questioning underpins the progression from being mere technical contributors to becoming masters of expertship. Experts tell us that they are eager to add more value – and they often need additional support from their leaders in doing so (e.g. guidance about priorities to focus on, or redirection of lower value tasks, or permission to negotiate with stakeholders, or even introductions to a broader range of stakeholders). The concept of mastering expertship is an emerging field of knowledge and your active involvement in assisting your direct reports in effectively applying what they’ve learned is a critical success factor in everyone reaping value from the program.

The Content

In this pod session, your team member discussed and explored with their fellow podsters:

  • Developing an understanding of the concept of Expertship – and its associated challenges and opportunities

  • Exploring the common characteristics of highly effective experts – significant, positive influence and impact – versus those that are ineffective?

  • Understanding the concept of professional brand as it relates to experts? How am I seen? How do I wish to be seen? How do our stakeholders tend to form such impressions – what data points tend to inform their views? How does an expert’s brand assist or hinder them in optimising their influence and impact?

  • Understanding the progressive development of mastering expertship. What distinguishes masters from basic technical contributors? Which of the various impact areas associated with mastery are especially relevant to your specific direct reports? To what extent must they master the relationship domain (stakeholder engagement, collaboration, personal impact) and value domain (market context, value impact and change impact) in order to complement the technical domain (building and deploying their own and others’ expertise, solutioning via a robust and outcomes-focused consulting methodology)?

The Punchlines

  • While not every capability area on the Expertship Model is equally relevant to each and every expert, we are confident (based on our experience of working with thousands of experts) that you and your direct report will identify a number of key capabilities that they (as an individual), their function and the entire organisation would benefit enormously from further developing. While some of them may have been vaguely on your direct report’s radar, this framework (enclosed) and the associated Expertship Growth Guide (enclosed) will enable you both to flesh out a specific plan as to how your direct report can increase their influence and impact.

  • The idea of every expert having a brand that shapes how others interact with them (and respond to them) is powerful. Ineffective experts often are perceived as:

    o Lacking people smarts

    o Being overly technically- and/or process-focused

    o Being indifferent towards, unconcerned with or even hostile towards pragmatic business requirements

  • It can be interesting to explore to what extent such descriptors (or others) might apply to your direct report. And whether these have arisen due to problematic attitudes and behaviours on their part – or are merely deeply held prejudices that organisational stakeholders have about anyone and everyone fulfilling their function.

  • In charting a course towards mastery, most experts (and their leaders) perceive great value in building such brand attributes as:

    o Being responsive, positive, helpful, open, collaborative, engaging, communicative

    o Being informed about and committed to delivering value in line with the organisation’s economic realities

  • The aspirational brand – what does the expert wish to be known for over the next 6 months to 2 years – often powerfully influences the content of their Personal Growth Plan