If you want to be a great marketer, you should probably have an MBA in marketing, some creative writing chops (as proven by a degree or published work), great people skills, expert insights into markets, design ability and a gift with language. After all, that’s what makes someone outstanding, right? It sounds like solid thinking. But its absolutely wrong?
A theory has been circulating in business corners that suggests perhaps you don’t need to be great at everything to be great. Perhaps, you only need to be “good enough” at enough disparate things that make for a uniquely effective “stack” of skills. The thinking is that we’ve each led unique and disparate lives, so each of us has a skill set that’s uniquely ours. And while we may be tempted to see that as a negative in a world where “expertise” is defined as laser-focus on a single topic to the exclusion of others, it’s actually a huge asset.
Broader Instead of Deeper
The key, according to career-change experts, is knowing when a complementary skill will be more helpful than digging deeper into a primary skill. This may also surface when you hit the end of the road on a certain skill, that just isn’t going to get any better. A famous advocate of stacking is Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert. He explains that he realized that he is not a great artist, but an average one. He was also a strong comedy writer and understood just enough of the business world to comment on it. This skill set made him uniquely qualified to create the comic strip which has been hugely successful. Adams’ net worth is somewhere around $75 million. Not bad for a non-expert.
More Than a Renaissance Man
It isn’t just about having broad-ranging interests. It’s about connecting them in ways that are uniquely yours. If you’re reasonably comfortable with technology, enjoy talking to people and have an advanced degree, you can have a whole new career teaching (or consulting) online. You don’t have to live near the schools that need a new teacher. And because the dynamics are different in, for this example, online teaching, you acquire a whole new skill set. It’s a way to keep learning and shaping who you are as a professional. Skill stacking is an exciting way of looking at what you already know and combining the disparate parts of yourself to offer what only you uniquely can.
As you grow your law firm, you don’t need to have the best lawyers, the best operations and the best marketing. You just need skill stack and be really good in all the three areas. The community will then recognize you as the best.
To Your Continued Success,
Luis Raul Scott, Jr.