By William Buist

The internet in general, and the Societal web in particular, create an interesting illusion, that each person has unique expertise. I’ve got bad news for us all. We don’t. “The Rise of the Amateur” is the title of chapter one of Jeff Howe’s excellent book -Crowdsourcing. His blog on the subject is also called Crowdsourcing. I think he has it right, the societal web has democratised the amateur. We are all experts now.

Knowledge Skills and Experience
Knowledge is something that gives us a basis of our perception of information provided to us in the past, it’s an aggregate of our learning, some theoretical, some philosophical and some experiential. Our knowledge tells us what to do.

Skills develop by applying knowledge and teaching our physical bodies and our minds to hone our abilities to deliver results. Skills tell us how to do things.

Experience is the thing we gather as we try thing out, as we work and play, as we talk and learn and think, and just be.

As you read these words they are (hopefully) adding to your knowledge and giving you pointers to hone your skills – and they are most definitely part of your experience. Your experience of reading these words is not mine, and as you skim through these words you will miss words others do not. Your interpretation is yours, and it is our experience that makes us unique and different in the context of how we see achievement.

Experience teaches us timing and finesse.

Expertise derives itself from knowledge skills and experience, but if we all are experts now, then how can we be distinguished from the crowd? It’s not what we do that matters, not even how we do it, not even, any more, is it the experience we bring.

Authority – the only measure that matters?

Only through the acknowledgement of others, by the authority they vest in us, and that is seen by those who seek us, can we truly stand out in this (highly)-connected world.

Becoming, being, recognised as, and remaining an authority in our areas of expertise is not a point prize. We can’t get it and relax, we have to get it and keep it. It is constantly re-tested, constantly challenged. Perhaps the only expertise we really need is understanding how to manage the authority that others create for us?

About the Author: William Buist is Managing Director of Abelard Management Services, which specialises in building trust in teams and communities within its corporate and SME client base.

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