The Master Expert Blog

Written by Alistair Gordon And Dominic Johnson 03 Jul 2022

Helping subject matters experts go from Very Good to Awesomely Great

Are you a technical subject matter expert? Want to accelerate your career? Increase your impact? Have great influence? Become a very respected thought leader in your technical field? Then this is the blog for you. (Subscribe using the form below for free.)

Our passion is to help technical subject matters experts - whatever your discipline, and wherever you are - to go to the next level. Master Expert level.

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Fresh this month

Overworked and underappreciated: your guide to surviving as a subject matter expert.

Want to accelerate your career as a trusted subject matter expert? Want to be more involved in strategic work rather than routine stuff? Want to have more influence and add more value. These tactics may help you achieve your aspirations. By Dominic Johnson.

What are enterprise skills, and why are they important for technical experts?

Far more than the ‘soft skills’ you hear people talking about, enterprise skills make all the difference when it comes to technical experts delivering high performance and breakthrough value-add. Combined with their technical skills, they enable experts to fulfil their potential and make a big difference to their organization, their customers, and the wider world. By Dominic Johnson.

3 tips for earning a seat at the top table at your company

Do you need uncommon charisma to win a seat at the direction setting table? Do you need to be a conniving political operator? No, but you do need break through. Here’s how. By Dominic Johnson

Networking for Intelligence

Many more introverted technical experts hate networking. But by reframing how we all think about it - imagining it as intelligence gathering - can take us to the next level of technical brilliance. By Alistair Gordon.

Stakeholders - the 80 people in your network who can ruin your day. Here’s how to stop them.

Most technical experts have 80, and probably closer to 100 stakeholders. Any one of them can decide to throw your business, your project, or you yourself under the bus. Or they can help enormously. How do you get on their good side? By Grant Heinrich.

Must reads - Mindset-changing thinking

Higher Intelligence - is it a blessing or a curse?

Knowledge leaders tend to be intellectually gifted – but is this a help or a hindrance? By Dominic Johnson.

CIO: Experts are the people who do the real work

A CIO tells it like it really is. By Mark Smith.

Stop “Solutioning” - it’s not helping your technical career

‘Jumping to the solution’ is a natural survival strategy in our busy world. But could this behavior be doing us more harm than good? By Grant Heinrich.

Back catalogue

Can technical teams effectively “learn on the job”?

What matters is not experience per se but “effortful study,” outside of training - continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one’s competence. Reviewed: The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. The Making of an Expert - Harvard Business Review. “The Expert Mind”, Philip E Ross. By Darin Fox.

Exploring Our Personal Brand

Looking from the inside out, we form opinions about those we work with. Are they ‘good’ to work with (and we’ll explore what ‘good’ means more precisely in these pages)? Are they reliable? Do they know what they are talking about? Do they work well with others? Do they have the right connections to get things done? The combination of all of these factors makes up what we think of them – their personal brand. We all have a personal brand (whether we like it or not). It is what people think of us, not how we think of ourselves.

How to Cultivate a Compelling Personal Brand

What is our personal brand? What do others think of must? How does our brand define our career as a subject matter expert?

Master Experts: Slower means more speed

If we want to be really effective subject matter experts, we need to slow down. Jumping to judgement is a derailing behavior for experts. We should spend less time judging opinions and more time seeking to understand others’ points of view. By Dominic Johnson

Why stakeholder maps can be an expert’s best friend

As experts we work in highly complex ecosystems that are shifting and adapting all the time. To become Master Experts we need to work hard to identify and service all our stakeholder groups, and take a strategic approach to prioritizing who we work with and why.

What business skills do technical experts and individual contributors need to be effective?

As experts rise in seniority, they increasingly need to understand strategy, your commercials, executive sponsorship and relationship building to be effective. Otherwise they get “stuck” in a role that does not keep them effective or happy. An intervention to coach the expert with better business skills can help them get “unstuck”. By Grant Heinrich.

Improve your collaboration skills. Download a nine-step guide to empathic listening

Master Experts - the most effective subject matter experts - listen not just to the facts, but also to the emotional make-up of peoples’ messages. That helps them feel valued, understood and heard in a manner that builds trust and goodwill, and creates an atmosphere of collaboration. It’s called empathetic listening. Here’s nine steps to achieve it. By Alistair Gordon and Dominic Johnson.

Do leaders of technical experts need to have technical respect?

In our research summary for 18 June 2021: why organizations should focus on hiring managers of technical teams from within, and avoid hiring externally. This is good news for experts.

How do you use deliberate practice to develop expertise?

In our research summary for 27 May 2021: how do you use deliberate practice to develop expertise? Why the rise of the anti-expertise movement? What power and influence to experts exert?

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