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Will The Real Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) Please Stand Up?

Post Series: Business

The internet, social media, and a relaxed view of standards has given way to the garden variety subject matter expert, more commonly known as the generalist.  No wait, even better …. the jack of all trades master of none. You know who I’m talking about …. the person who knows everything and gives you no-answer answers to every conceivable subject and topic.

Well, with companies tightening their manpower “belts” (personnel), I can understand why some employees would go this route.  I mean, who among us wants to find ourselves without a job one day and with no prospects?  Or, how about those of us who have the insatiable need to demonstrate our superhuman prowess to our counterparts and others?

So, what do some of us do?  We overcompensate and get involved in anything and everything.  Yes, in the same space and time, we essentially do everything and nothing at all.  Oh, and let’s not forget that with the “everything and nothing” way of doing things, these folks leave a trail of destruction behind them.  These impostors divert attention away from the real SMEs and serve to minimize the education, guidance, and advice that the real SMEs bring to the solutions table.  Will the real SMEs please stand up?

Have you ever been at a meeting where you directed a question at the member of the group that is equipped to answer it (the SME) but another member answers instead?  With information coming at us at lightening speed, where the facts and data this minute are obsolete the next, can organizations really sustain this kind of organizational process?  While there is certainly a place for generalists and specialists alike, in an atmosphere where one group takes on the identity (and assumes the role) of the other group and vice-versa, this type of business environment is sure to lead to unsustainable chaos and disorder.  But, hey, who knows?  Perhaps the chaos and disorder is all by design.  Will the real SMEs please stand up?

With businesses striking a more laser focused approach to operations, customer and employee relations and progressive decision-making, CEOs and other senior stakeholders need those employees who offer substantive guidance, knowledge, and expertise.  So, I’ll ask again …. will the real subject matter experts please stand up? 

(If you’re the real SME, reclaim your identity and get those problems solved as only you know how.  If you’re the pseudo-SME and want to leave your impostor ways behind, pick a specialty, one that you like and are good at, and foster the skills and knowledge behind it.  You won’t be disappointed and neither will your boss or coworkers.)

(pic courtesy of pexels.com)

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