Culture of Experts

Module #10

An Expert-Driven Organization

As Unconventional Experts forge their own path, leadership will need to make sure that their achievements are moving in a direction that is advantageous to the company. In t his module, we will look at ways to assure forward progress, when initiating a Culture of Experts.

Company meetings and Unconventional Experts
It is always recommended that leadership meet with employees within regular one-on-one meetings. Discussions usually include a status or progress report and plans for next steps. When meeting with Unconventional Experts, a review of the individual work-process can aid in the sharing of information that is often disregarded.

Manager asks employee:
a) What captured your interest?     Intellectual curiosity
b) What new activities did you put into motion?     Initiate activity
c) What new relevant information did you gain and from what source?      Gain relevant information
d) What possibilities did you see, that could benefit customers in the long run?      Discover possibilities
e) What new game plans did you develop?     Strategize
f) What project updates are there?     Commit to a project
g) What new ideas did you come up with?     Create ideas
h) How did you develop your best ideas and how did that translate into productivity?     Realize ideas
i) What ideas did you test and what was the test?     Test ideas, find success or failure
j) What ideas failed?     Test ideas, find success or failure
k) What did you learn from the failed ideas and what new ideas did they lead to?     Use failure as a platform for new and better ideas
l) What parts of the process did you repeat, to duplicate successful activities?     Repeat part or all of the process
m) What achievements did you have?     Eventually, find achievement
n) What progress have you made on your expert-trek, to find mastery?      Ultimately, gain some level of mastery

We can also add two attributes of unconventional positions (module #1), to add to the information exchange.

Manager asks employee:
• What unstructured facets of your position where challenging and how did you face the challenge?     Unstructured
• What new levels of complexity did you reach within your position and how were you able to adapt?     Complex

Regarding project updates, if work is encapsulated within an unconventional project (module #6), updates can be specific.

Manager asks employee:
• Summarize the movement of the project?
• Are there any adjustments to the project’s expectations and goals?
• What benefits does the project bring to the company?
• What influence does the project have on personal growth?
• What customer reach, market reach or internal department interaction has the project generated?

The power of mastery
In module #3 we saw how important it is for Unconventional Experts to have a realistic understanding of the level of commitment required to reach some level of mastery. Over time, there should also be a deep respect and reverence for mastery and the Masters who achieve it. Leadership should continually romance the concept of Master-level performance and make certain that their experts are not delusional; as they compare their skills and achievements to those who stand at the top of their vocation.

Manager asks employee:
• Of those who share a similar expert-trek, what exposure have you had to top performers?
• How far away are you from achieving a similar degree of mastery within your career?
• How will you develop your expertise differently?

Free-time activities
In module #3 we looked at the Unconventional Experts in their free-time, as they forwarded hobbies, arts, crafts, DIY home improvements, connoisseurship, inventions and disciplines. As long as the employee is comfortable with the conversation, comparing personal experiences with workplace experiences can be beneficial. It should be a goal of leadership to make sure that their employees are as confident at the workplace as they are at home.

Work-journey check-up
The individual work-journey is the chemistry between the worker and the work. If the work-journey is not positive, there will be limited job satisfaction and the quality of work will suffer. For Unconventional Experts, the level of curiosity and ability to either fulfill or expand curiosity will play a big role in the health of their work-journey. If there are company barriers that stand in the way, there should be efforts to remove or minimize them.

Sparking employee curiosity:
• Abbreviate and share all interesting industry information.
• Have employees attend trade shows and conferences.
• Expose employees to the marketplace where goods and services are sold.
• Share stories where company goods or services have helped end-customers.
• Dedicate time to meetings, where employees can share work-journey stories.
• Expose employees to master-level experts, relevant to their position.

Expert-trek check-up
Within  most organizations, employees are rated within formal quarterly and yearly performance reviews. These reviews cover a lot of ground, however, they rarely review an employees level of expertise and mastery. As difficult as it is to rate these qualities, expert-trek progress should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Manager asks employee:
• What achievements have you made within your position, as compared to similar positions within the industry?
• What unique abilities do you offer to your position, as compared to similar positions within the industry?
• What ideas or philosophies do you hold, that might be considered unorthodox to the industry?
• What industry knowledge do you have, that not typically found within publications or reports?
• What unique situations have you experienced, as compared to similar positions within the industry?
• Where are you in your pursuit of mastery, as compared to those at the top of their vocation, within similar positions within the industry?

Troubleshooting an issue within a Culture of Experts

• Was the issue within operational company-process or within an individual work-process?
• If operational company-process failed, can future issues be diverted by changing it?
• How did the failure fall within each of unstructured, complex, creativity-driven, strategy-dependent, project-oriented work?
• Can any of the above be fixed by, or transformed into; structured, repetitive, task-oriented, company-process-driven work?
• If individual work-process failed, where was the failure and how can it be addressed?
          1) Foster curiosity
          2) Initiate activity
          3) Gain relevant information
          4) Discover possibilities
          5) Strategize
          6) Commit to a project
          7) Create ideas
          8) Realize ideas
          9) Test ideas, find success or failure
          10) Use failure as a platform for new and better ideas
          11) Repeat part or all of the process
          12) Eventually, find achievement
          Bonus – Ultimately, gain some level of mastery
• Are the expectations too high, requiring too much in the way of individual work-process?
• How can workers be assisted in meeting the requirements that will help avoid similar issues, moving forward?

                              Communication Takes Time

A small team met with the CEO for three hours. It took three hours to explain one complex concept that had many facettes. After three hours, everyone understood. Leadership means taking the time to completely communicate vision. Leadership requires communication.

Unconventional manipulation

Within a company’s quarterly meetings, the CEO earned a reputation for being uncomfortably judgmental when fielding employee questions and responding to their contributions. Often, he would use these exchanges to highlight individual inadequacies and team weaknesses. Employees became hesitant with their participation, but knew that it was mandatory. A small group of the employees discover that they could slightly manipulate these meetings by presenting contrived positive contributions, one-each, on a relatively grand scale. As each performed, the others would silently nod with appreciation. Over time, they perfected this strategy and where able to change the flavor of the meetings.

Outside of a Culture of Experts, Unconventional Experts hide. Outside of productive change, Unconventional Experts are instrumental in change.

Communication Through Stories

Everyone loves a good story. For both children and adults, it is the best way to share situational information. For a candidate within an interview, conveying a work experience within a short story can be priceless. Like every children’s story, it should include the obstacles and the way in which they were overcome.

   Assessing Opportunity

Looking at a new opportunity of any type means:
• Assessing time risk as well as monetary risk.
• Determining worst case scenarios. These can includes potential legal ramifications, mental health sacrifices and a potential breach in reputation.
• Determining best case scenarios. Remember, net gains might also include increased knowledge and expansion of ideas.

The finishing touch to a Culture of Experts
Initiating a Culture of Experts and adopting the concepts within this program means to change the way a company views and utilizes its human capital. Words have power, and including these descriptive names within the company lexicon will go a long way.

Culture of Experts
Unconventional Expert
Unconventional position
Unconventional project
Individual work-process
Company work-process

Corporate Culture Assessment Questions
Module #10 – An Expert-Driven Organization

18) Do you think that is would benefit your company to adopt a Culture of Experts?

See all of the module assessment questions in module #11 

Culture of Experts Interview Questions
Module #10 – An Expert-Driven Organization

Currently, there are no interview questions for this module.

See all of the module interview questions in module #12

Culture of Experts is a free talent acquisition and employee development program created by Martin Haslinger. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Please proceed to module #11: Corporate Culture Assessment

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