You’ve heard it all before… Conventional wisdom says “position yourself as an expert and you’ll be a success in this business”. But, becoming a recognized expert is not as easy as it sounds… and it’s definitely not enough by itself.
Try to become an expert in a conventional manner and you’ll spend a tremendous amount of time blogging, speaking and writing… and competing with every other “expert” blogger, speaker and author and getting absolutely nowhere.
Why? Here’s the problem… these days useful information is nothing more than a commodity, like corn, cattle or copper. You can get those things anywhere. To be seen as a true expert means doing, writing and saying something new, unconventional and different. Not just different for different’s sake or something that is contrarian just to be contrarian but something that adds extraordinary value to the reader, listener or client.
All this means is that you must do new and different. Another boring rehash of “7 Ways to Cut Employee Turnover”… no matter how well-written… just won’t get you where you want to go. We’ve all read that article before. It will be a big waste of your time. Better not to write it at all.
Jim Horan is regarded as a business planning expert because when he wrote his first book, “The One Page Business Plan”, his ideas on business planning were new, fresh and compelling. (They still are). There have been imitators, but Horan still owns the space because he was first.
The same goes for Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard, and Seth Godin. It wasn’t just that the four of them wrote books and did speeches… it was that their ideas were innovative, simply communicated and easily understood.
What good are breakthrough ideas if they are complicated and confusing? Remember Blanchard’s “One Minute Manager”? He did different by taking timeless concepts and making them new again and easy to understand. He built a highly successful company on that simple premise.
(In the interest of full disclosure, Horan and Blanchard’s companies have been clients of mine.)
I’m not saying that you have to write a book like these four individuals, but at the same time, you must be able to communicate your ideas to a large enough audience that will hear them. If you want to be seen as a genuine expert you must present an original, simple and compelling message and not an old tired one. This requires that you have to be first with something different, new and valuable to say in a way that it makes sense to people.
Some consultants try to sound smarter than everyone else by over-complicating their message so we’ll all know how clever they are. It doesn’t work that way. King Solomon wrote, “…there is nothing new under the sun”. In the consulting business, he or she who simply presents a timeless truth as new again will get the gold!