Everyday people are solving problems, delivering solutions and averting calamity. Is it because they are “experts” in their specialty or because they have learned to see the whole picture and evaluate a situation quickly? Businesses today are required to deliver solutions in real time; generalists, not specialists are often able to find and allocate diverse resources more effectively.A survey by psychologist Phillip Tetlock asked 284 professional forecasters to predict the likelihood of certain events, both within and outside of their area of expertise. His analysis showed that non-experts were more accurate in their calls than their “specialist” colleagues.“The fox knows many things; the hedgehog one great thing.”Tetlock claims that foxes – generalists who cunningly draw from an eclectic array of skills, face ambiguity and contradictions as inevitable features of life. Hedgehogs, on the other hand rely on a single defense mechanism – curling up into a ball – which is super effective but only in specific situations.
To be taken seriously, focus on how you’re presenting yourself to the world. It’s not enough to be an expert at your job, you also must be able to communicate your expertise.
You need to be visible and let your actions and decisions speak for you. Skills will only get you from A to B. Consider how you make decisions and the methods you use to convince others that your decisions are to be trusted.
You may be surprised by how positive the outcome may be.