In last week’s blog, we explored what you learned in 2018. We asked if you re-skilled/up-skilled or de-skilled and also delved into the expertise vs. skills dichotomy.
We concluded that expertise only remains potent when you continue to re-skill/up-skill. To not do the latter renders your expertise irrelevant and reduces your employability-rating score.
Before you are offered a job, employers consider your employability-rating – a combination of your skills and expertise at a point in time. They match your expertise and skills to a particular role in the organization. If you match what the employer is looking for, you are given the job. Many of you have gone through this process, perhaps without even realizing
For you to keep the interest and motivation to do your job, plus remain relevant to the external labour market, requires that your employability-rating remains potent in the context of the labour market. The latter happens when there is sustained re-skilling or at least, keeping your entry level employability-rating intact.
Why bother to re/up-skill?
Whether you are self-employed or employed by others, mind the gap between your skills and expertise. Don’t allow the two to grow too far apart. It will render your employability-rating low and ultimately lead to your redundancy or failed business for the self-employed. It’s that simple
You all get absorbed in the day to day hustling at work, that you lose sight of the fact that your skills and expertise need to keep close to each other. In effect, you stop minding the gap.
From the examples below, you may appreciate why you should mind the gap between your expertise and skills:
- A senior surgeon trained in the 1970s has acquired years of experience in the field of surgery and is by all means rated expert. They will have clocked 10,000 hours of surgery and many times over. However, if they haven’t up-skilled in new surgical procedures/technology like laparoscopy [a minimally invasive surgical method, that is used to access the interior of the body through a small incision, removing the need for open surgery], they may be rendered ineffective. No patient in this day and age would like to undergo invasive surgery, even in the hands of an expert surgeon, when there is the option for minimally invasive surgery – the so-called keyhole surgery. For this expert surgeon to remain relevant and keep their employability-rating at ivy-hospitals, they have to train in keyhole surgery, a skill that wasn’t taught at medical colleges in the 1970s
- A quintessential high-school physics teacher that has taught physics since the 1970s and understands all theory there is to physics, may not be employed in a modern 21st-century school, if they lack fundamental skills required of a current teacher. For example, Ed.Tech – delivering effective pedagogy in a classroom setting, without ICT skills is difficult. So if the physics teacher is computer illiterate, they will rate low on the employability-rating at the 21st-century school. As a matter of fact, the teacher would find it difficult to gain the trust of ICT savvy students that will instead tutor their teacher in Ed.Tech. However, the teacher can, in a short time, change the employability rating from low to average and ultimately high, through the acquisition of the requisite Ed.Tech skills. In doing so, they would re-kindle their physics expertise
- Now, our favourite profession – development. There are many excellent development professionals. These women and men, without doubt, have and continue to save human beings from natural and human disasters as well as a life of poverty. Yet, the development skills landscape continues to change at such a fast rate that development professionals are struggling to keep up. Apparently, for all their fine development skills, development professionals have to master specific non-traditional and new skills to remain relevant:
New technologies and approaches are rapidly changing the way we do development. If you don’t keep up, you may soon find yourself left behind. From mobile applications to human-centered design to drones, the global development sector is looking at innovation as the key driver to making significant progress in everything from crop production to humanitarian aid delivery. You don’t have to become a software programmer or drone pilot to stay relevant, but understanding how to integrate new ideas and technologies into your work will be key. Building new skills, such as data modeling and analysis or ones specific to your areas of expertise, is the best way to evolve as the sector evolves, ensuring your relevance and job security.
- And finally, our HR and Accountant professional friends – they are under pressure from Artificial Intelligence (AI) & automation and their job turf is changing and quickly at that. What was done by HR staff and Accountants is increasingly being done by computers – AI is taking over. The ask of these professionals is to occupy new ground. Accountant friends now have to go beyond numbers to learning how to manage and get the best out of human beings – the need for EQ and strategic skills from accountants is on the up. Managing for success is indeed more than a numbers and efficiency game. The same is true for the HR friends – it’s a different narrative of: fingers deep in the organisation’s value-chain, accompaniment and facilitation – indeed, the emerging thinking is that the best HR practitioners are those that haven’t studied HR
Please mind-the-gap – expertise is actualised by relevant skills