Embrace The Massive Changes In The World Of Expertise

How To Embrace The Massive Changes In The World Of Expertise

I got a bit fired up in this one … but I’m fine with that. Please take a look. We must change our view of how to treat our expertise and wisdom – or we will end up like the guy who insisted that cars would never replace carriages.

I’m Curious

  • What are YOUR thoughts on this?
  • What are you going to do (or are doing already) to embrace the massive changes that are taking place with regard to expertise?


Greetings, Dr. Stephie here. How can you embrace the massive changes that have taken place and are taking place in the world of expertise? That’s a great question. It’s a question for you. It’s a question for me, too.

Let’s look at this. Not long ago, people believed that once you have a career, you have that career for all of your life. Therefore, the apprentice system worked well. For the most part, you can count on those apprentices being there. It worked to put somebody under your wing, teach them, and expect them to be around when it’s time for you to lean out. 

Now, that system has always had its flaws. What if something happens to that person? Also, how can you effectively amplify your work when you’re teaching what you know (what I call “Brilliance”) only to a few people and only slowly, a little here and a little there over time, over long periods? But that’s the system that has prevailed for a very, very long time. I called that Expert 1.0.

Several things have changed. 

  1. One thing is that people only stay at jobs for a much shorter time now. Recently, I learned it was as short as just 18 months. Wow! Even when it’s longer, it’s a far cry from being in the same place all your career. Therefore, you can’t count on your chosen apprentice or a chosen few to stay with you. You just really can’t; it’s an illusion! It’s time to wake up and make sure that we all realize that it is an illusion and that we must do something different.
  2. But there’s another factor in the world of expertise. Namely, expertise is growing exponentially. It may be even way more than exponential. Some people call it “super change,” and it is. Recently, a friend of mine pointed out how much information we have to process and how people who are a little bit older may have trouble comprehending how to process so much information quickly. 
  3. At the same time, there’s another change. We have tools available today that we’d never had before, such as Zoom, WebEx, Skype, easy recording apps like loom.com, and many others. There are now very inexpensive methods to capture, share, “massage,” and redeliver information you previously stored only in your head. 

Let’s recap

  • We had a relatively static world, and yes, there was progress, of course, but it was slow by today’s standards. People stayed where they lived and who they worked with for much longer than today. 
  • At the same time, we did not have affordable tools such as Zoom, Loom, or Notion

It is time to become an Expert 2.0. That’s that expert whose primary job is not just to learn something and then execute it until you go into retirement. That ought to be dead. It is pretty much dead. Instead, your job as an expert is to learn, think of new things, put new innovative processes in place, and teach them to others. The information should be taught such that it can’t ever be lost. At the same time, the information is living and breathing because it’s not static. It evolves. It usually evolves quickly. I don’t believe in spending much time and money creating highly polished training systems. Yes, we can do that. Most of the time, it is much more useful and has a much higher return on investment to get started, and let it evolve because you’ll improve the processes along the way.

When you have unique expertise, it’s wonderful in one sense. It makes you unique and, to a degree, valuable. But the expertise is trapped there if it’s not visible to others. It is not actionable for other people. Other people cannot make it better. Now, it’s already really good. I get it. That’s why it’s worth preserving. 

But then, another level of magic could happen. It will get even better when you embark on the synergy that is possible when you share your expertise with other people. Nowadays, you will likely share your expertise with more people than the number of people who would have been your apprentices some decades ago. 

Just think about it. How can you embrace the massive, and I mean massive, changes that have taken place and are still taking place in the world of expertise? 

I’ll leave you with one thought. School education, even college education, is based on guesses of what might be relevant next. A huge percentage of the jobs our kids might get after going through their education don’t even exist yet, or they barely have begun to exist. 

I’m just going to lay it out here. If you’re stuck on Expert 1.0, good luck. It’s similar to what happened to the guy who made those leather leashes for horse carriages. Before the car was invented, we rode around in carriages drawn by horses. If you were in the business of making the leather straps to direct those horses, if you didn’t see the car coming, eventually, you were out of business. 

The same thing will happen here. If we cling to the Expert 1.0 model, companies that do, entrepreneurs that do, those companies that do, nonprofits that do, they will be obsolete before too long. That’s my prediction. There are already quite a few examples of that.

I invite you to look around and ask yourself, “What will I do about this? Am I finally embracing the fact that in my head, there is some knowledge, expertise, and even wisdom that I need to make sure that I pass on in some systematic way, or else it will get lost?

I know I got a little bit on the soap box here, but I’m inviting you to embrace becoming an Expert 2.0, where you must have time to think of new things. You just must, and let’s face it. You love it. That’s what you love to do. You don’t necessarily love to do the same thing repeatedly just because you’re good at it and no one around you is nearly as good at it. Think about it. Please drop me a note. This is more than just me talking to you. This ought to be a conversation. I appreciate everyone who has already been part of the conversation. Let’s set this thing on fire and let more people know about it because it’s time. Expert 2.0; here we come.

Dr. Stephie

P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this with others. Thank you!

Stephie Althouse

I Love Your Comments

Please use the form below for private comments and the social links for public comments