Should I become a Generalist or Specialist? Which is better? Which is needed?

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Should I become a Generalist or Specialist? Which is better? Which is needed?

In a way, almost everyone becomes some form of specialist in their life.

This is how each individual person can fit into an available gap, group, sub-market, eco-system, or niche that makes the universe, planet or local economy a bit more valuable through added connections.

Whether they choose to learn the specific and extensive drink recipes as a barista at Starbucks™,

Or whether they choose to get a degree in computer engineering to learn how to design, create and better connect new computer parts to operate more efficiently and powerfully.

The word: "Speciality" seems to attract a "Salary" or another end desired result in some way, shape or form.

And we'll talk more about that, but that's often all a Speciality can be good for, if it's for work-to-pay-bills related purposes.

Carrying on, the more you know about ONE thing, the better you are likely to be at it, assuming you are always trying to learn, develop and improve this body or specific collection of knowledge.

However, being a Generalist also seems to be in high demand (if you think about it).

For example, if you only have one skill, let's say you can perform Brain Surgery really well, and you are the best in the world at it...

...Imagine if that's the only skill you had.

Wouldn't get you too far would it?

If you didn't know how to Drive, how to speak or communicate well, how to work well with others, how to read, how to write, how to cook, you get the general idea.

If I were asked what I'd rather be, if the goal was to survive: I'd choose to be a generalist.

A Generalist could be perceived to be a person who know's a lot about several different things, and may be highly proficient or may not be highly proficient at these things.

Let's shift on a business lens and use an analogy:

Funnel Vision Opposed to Tunnel Vision.

Or,

Wide Gaze Vs. a Narrow Gaze.

Those are two alternate ways to look at this topic.

Having a Wide body of expertise, can be extraordinarily beneficial when it comes to growing a business.

Jay Abraham for example, has worked in over 400 different industries, with over 10,000 different small, medium and large sized businesses.

One of his founding principles he uses is to simply take something that works well in one industry and to apply it to another.

This has resulted in large, worthwhile and successful partnerships between him and his clients.

Only a Generalist could ever have a "thought" to do something skill like this -- only a generalist -- could also inter-weave all of the necessary parts together to achieve certain things, such as this example.

Take Steve Jobs, not an engineer per se, however, he's the ultimate marketing & sales guy who also know's how to choose, meet, hire and motivate Smart Engineers to carry out lofty vision.

Steve had a pyramid of well built up "Generalist" skills which enabled him to do more, then a Pure Specialist such as a Software Engineer, ever could.

Also, I'm not saying that if you are an Engineer only you are just a specialist.

Take Elon Musk for example, he is an engineer in just about every engineering category along with having several other helpful skills and bodies of knowledge.

Next.

Tunnel Vision / Narrow Gaze: Now, certain specialists are normally able to do one or a few things way better, faster, more efficiently and productively in a work-day than a generalist.

This often holds true, which is why it's so valuable as well.

Think of Henry Ford's assembly-line concept.

Rather than to have 1 worker perform 3 or 4 different tasks each day, he gave 1 worker 1 task to do, every day.

He soon discovered that by allowing each worker to be a specialist at just one thing, his efficiency and productivity could go up vastly.

Ford was the ultimate Generalist who also had several things he could also be considered a Specialist at.

Another way to look at being a "Great Generalist" is to become a "Specialist at 3 to 5 things" that relate to your business growth goals.

I for example, had to become a Specialist at "Sales", "Facebook™ Ads", "Psychology & Marketing" to name a few things, which have helped me to move towards my business objectives.

I would not give myself the title of being a Specialist at anything that I don't feel I'm not an absolute 1-percenter Expert at.

For example, I understanding "Programming" more than the average human, but I'm not a "Specialist" at it by any stretch, I simply know enough to get by.

My opinion is: It's hard or even perhaps impossible nowadays to be a one-trick entrepreneur and still make money consistently from a business.

When I say "one trick" I mean 1 skill or 1 expertise, not 1 business model (which could involve a collection of skills and knowledge bases to make work).

It takes a combination, normally of at least 4 to 5 highly developed skills to make up a speciality or successful person at a business.

An example of skills: Mastering an Advertising Platform or Prospecting Strategy, Mastery at gaining meaningful strategic partnerships, mastery at selling a product to a market, mastery in reading reports, data and accounting, and more.

So in conclusion, one speciality could be composed of 4 or more individual skills, that, when used together often, make a person a successful specialist at the thing in question.

However, depending on what you are trying to do, with your business, it often pays heavily to become and employ Generalists (who make the best managers of teams btw) & a wide-variety of Specialists in order scale and grow what it is you are doing.

Hope this post added substance to your mind,



Justin

P.S. In Summary:

Point #1 - In the beginning of your IM career, aim to specialize to get results the quickest.

Point #2 - Take your speciality as far as it can go without it requiring any other major skills or additional knowledge.

Point #3 - Once you've maxed out the amount of clients you can handle, or revenue you can produce, then, at this stage, it's important to seek out and gain additional knowledge and skills to move past your current plateau, thus evolving To a Generalist from a Specialist.
#generalist #needed #specialist
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by Justin Spencer View Post


    However, depending on what you are trying to do, with your business, it often pays heavily to become and employ Generalists (who make the best managers of teams btw) & a wide-variety of Specialists in order scale and grow what it is you are doing.

    Hope this post added substance to your mind,



    Justin
    It did NOT add substance to MY mind. After all that long winded post, your conclusion is: depends?

    Depends on what you are trying to do. Use both, be both?????

    Are you being paid by WF to post these articles? We went through that some time back, my first thought was, here we go again.

    Sorry, but I have to balance this out, I did praise you for one of your blog posts, but most are just same old same old nothing of substance to add cut and paste blog posts. Or that is my opinion.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin Spencer
      Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

      It did NOT add substance to MY mind. After all that long winded post, your conclusion is: depends?

      Depends on what you are trying to do. Use both, be both?????

      Are you being paid by WF to post these articles? We went through that some time back, my first thought was, here we go again.

      Sorry, but I have to balance this out, I did praise you for one of your blog posts, but most are just same old same old nothing of substance to add cut and paste blog posts. Or that is my opinion.

      GordonJ
      Hi Gordon,

      First off, thank you for the constructive feedback.

      To answer your question, no, I'm not being paid by anyone to write these posts.

      I'm doing this of my own volition.

      Secondly, I actually put some thought into this before I wrote it.

      Perhaps I failed to simplify what the key points or take-aways should be for my target reader.

      I'll attempt a rebuttal by doing so now:

      Point #1 - In the beginning of your IM career, aim to specialize to get results the quickest.

      Point #2 - Take your speciality as far as it can go without it requiring any other major skills or additional knowledge.

      Point #3 - Once you've maxed out the amount of clients you can handle, or revenue you can produce, then, at this stage, it's important to seek out and gain additional knowledge and skills to move past your current plateau, thus evolving To a Generalist from a Specialist.
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      • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
        I like your topics and information you provide, but don't have time to read your long posts, sorry. Just a suggestion for future posts...perhaps just say your 3 points as concisely as you just did. I think you will get equal level or maybe even more engagement because more people will stick around to read those points.

        Or try the TLDR trick
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  • Gotta figure generalists are 100% surefire straight-down-the-line guaranteed to deliver on perpetual mediocrity whereas specialists got plenty weirdsy antennae an' super-informed procreational smarts don't nevah switch on tillya crank 'em up right an' they SHAZAM a paradigm shift outta noplace.

    Same deal goes for populists an' experts.

    My advice?

    Nevah fill a bar fulla generalists.

    For sure, they got eternal bonhomie, rollin' out as beers an' yakkidy-yack ...

    until there ain't no bar bcs the planet exploded while they all took a pee.

    On the flipside, the KEY gonna unlock the SECRETS to the COSMOS ain't no use as a SPOON.

    So plz deploy your bestest evah resources super sweet, or you gonna look like dumbos.
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  • Profile picture of the author chronosgolf
    If you need a particular job done do you go and look for someone who is quite good at lots of things or someone who is very good at the specific skill you require?
    A specialist will always be the go-to option when the chips are down
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    jack of all trades master of none has served me well
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  • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
    In my own opinion, specialized knowledge is always better than generalized knowledge.

    On the other hand, if you are a generalist, you can still do well. Especially if you have great leadership skills and/or people skills. Those two skills will benefit people in any profession or endeavor.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    In most things you begin as a generalist - then as you gain experience, knowledge and skills....you specialize.
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  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

    I like your topics and information you provide, but don't have time to read your long posts, sorry. Just a suggestion for future posts...perhaps just say your 3 points as concisely as you just did. I think you will get equal level or maybe even more engagement because more people will stick around to read those points.

    Or try the TLDR trick
    Agreed, you can always spot a writer, since they cover the same ground til our eyes bleed, and we yearn for a Anthony Robbins book on the 1000 points of positive thinking.

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    'Profession' is a term which, from my experience of hearing other opinions, makes people think of a salary.

    'Speciality' tends to be more skill focused in my mind, rather than the product of it.

    Established professionals come to understand that salary is just a branch product of the root of purpose.

    Purpose leads to drive and drive leads to purpose.

    The difference too is great between showing others how to establish their own roots, rather than teasing them with low hanging fruit...

    When ones own efforts are giving birth to several other instances of success by directly connected results it never fails to drive a person.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    Originally Posted by Justin Spencer View Post







    I would not give myself the title of being a Specialist at anything that I don't feel I'm not an absolute 1-percenter Expert at.

    For example, I understanding "Programming" more than the average human, but I'm not a "Specialist" at it by any stretch, I simply know enough to get by.

    My opinion is: It's hard or even perhaps impossible nowadays to be a one-trick entrepreneur and still make money consistently from a business.

    When I say "one trick" I mean 1 skill or 1 expertise, not 1 business model (which could involve a collection of skills and knowledge bases to make work).

    It takes a combination, normally of at least 4 to 5 highly developed skills to make up a speciality or successful person at a business.

    An example of skills: Mastering an Advertising Platform or Prospecting Strategy, Mastery at gaining meaningful strategic partnerships, mastery at selling a product to a market, mastery in reading reports, data and accounting, and more.
    t.
    ok i deleted my othere two post .. and i am just going to explain this quickly .

    the problem here stems from labeling everyone who owns a business an entrepreneur.

    it about the same as lbling every with a job an employee..

    many business people don't need to be entrepreneurs..especially if theye are self employed professional.. or contract specialist . they may have a business ..but they are the business ..they need to work for the business to make money.

    there is rarely a valuation on more than the equipment.. and rarely outside investors other than bank loans .

    steve jobs was fired and apple stayed in business steve died years ago and apple is still in business..

    ford still making cars..

    elon musk has several businesses .

    jay Abraham.. is a marketer has been doing it for 30 or 40 years .. and done the marketing for so many businesses and so many industries..far far far from a generalist .and probably has a team around him that does a lot of the work ..as he markets his abilities to keep high paying companies flowing in .

    so i think it is more..are you the business..or are you building a business .

    and starting out you probably are the business .so specialize and get the skills to get customers in the door and sell them what you need to sell them to stay open ..

    at some point ..probably a bit past 100k you need to start hiring people to specialize more than you can in the business part so you can better serve the customers ..if you want to start earning money that works when you are not there .
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