At Crossroads Business Solutions (XRBS), expertise has a very clear definition. We believe expertise is comprised of three factors: Education, Experience, and Training. The more one has of each, the more of an expert one becomes. Therefore, expertise is not a yes/no categorization, but a matter of degree.
When it comes to technical and/or complex matters – the more expertise one holds the better they will perform. This applies to everything from brain surgery to plumbing, from law to technology.
Education: This includes classroom instruction… like high school and college, but also includes industry certification. Certifications are developed by governing bodies or manufacturers to ensure that experts understand the intended design, functionality, and best practices associated with a given discipline. Education alone, however, can provide very little business value. For instance, a new college graduate, while well educated, has very little experience applying their recent education to the real world. A brain surgeon is not ready to operate until they have spent hundreds of hours working on cadavers. And in technology – we refer to a highly certified engineer with little to no experience to be a “paper tiger”.
Experience: This comes in many forms which can all be helpful. Sometimes we have bad experiences – but it serves as unforgettable experience of what to avoid in the future. Other times we have tremendous success, which gives us a certain path that is beneficial to repeat over and over seeking the same destination. At XRBS, we work hard to standardize our recommendations, actions, and processes on past success. And when we run across an occasional failure, we are just as diligent to dig into the situation to identify what happened, seek out warning signs we could/should have seen (to recognize it again in the future), and ask ourselves if there is anything we can do differently in the future to avoid repeating the bad experience.
Training: Training is the most important factor of the three, and there is only one beneficial form – good training. The better the training, the better the performance. Bad training, however, can only lead to poor performance. At XRBS, training of our engineers is handed down through hours of “Shadowing”. First the student watches the expert perform, then the roles are reversed and the expert watches the student. This approach to training is essential when grooming anyone to move deeper into expertise.
Having a defined concept of expertise is important for a company like Crossroads Business Solutions because we are paid for our expertise. And while this commitment to building experts is not cheap – rest assured that it produces the best results possible for our clients.
Think about this the next time you are disappointed with the performance or recommendation of your expert. And then inquire about these three factors – 1. who educated/certified them, 2. under what conditions did they get their experience, and 3. how were they trained. The answers may surprise you, and also explain why you were disappointed…