Early 20th century author Napoleon Hill once said: “The jack-of-all-trades seldom is good at any. Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.” Well, Mr. Hill, I have to disagree.
Everyone knows that the landscape of business in America is changing. As companies migrate to digital platforms and companies continue to invent and reinvent products and services, our internal professional database has to continually add data and recalibrate itself to match the ever-changing professional environment. Andrew Yang of Venture Capital for America often talks about this reality, especially for millennials. He describes how the lines between our professional and our personal lives are blurring, especially considering our ability to be accessible all hours of the day. Our consumption of media and our ability to share, consume and share again drives us continually towards a point of over-saturation.
Some may argue a technologically deterministic perspective, blaming our buzzing heads on a fragmented self. But business isn’t waiting up for those who want to shut out the progression. Decades ago, we would have spent 8 hours at the office sharpening our skill set, becoming a master in our trade. No longer. Now our work day blends into our home life. Instead of focusing on our product or service, we’re constantly searching and trying to stay in the know, tweet about the most relevant content, read about the newest breaking study and teach ourselves how to code.
In this day and age, more is more.
This is especially true in the small business landscape. If you’re a sales consulting company, you can’t just sell. You need to market yourself, maybe dabble in graphic design, have some video skills and play the ukulele for good measure.
Some of the most valuable candidates are those whose résumé is exploding with various activities, skill sets or projects. Platforms like LinkedIn continually prod you to add another skill to your profile or share another project that you created.
Business professionals have to continue to diversify their skill set to stay in the game.
The ability to understand and be competent in many areas allows for increased maneuverability, and often, increased success. Employees with a host of various skills can react nimbly to situations and slide themselves into opportunities previously out of reach. This maneuverability, and inclination towards success, often reflects on the companies they are a part of.
So what’s the point? It used to be that the title “master” was something to aspire to, the ultimate destination. Now, the more you diversify, the more skills you can add and the more useful you become. Jack-of-all-trades, master of noneis no longer a derogatory description, but a desired one.
Tell us about all of the skills you’ve mastered. #MOVEahead