How Professional Expertise Can Become an Anchor, Not an Advantage

September 22, 2014

Many professionals, from architects to anesthesiologists, from structural engineers to surgeons, make the mistake of focusing solely on developing their skill sets and in delivering those skills to their customers, patients or clients.

And then they’re disappointed when their careers don’t turn out as planned.

The problem is that they become so focused on honing their skills that they forget that skills alone are only a part of the package that the customer wants to receive.

In fact, those skills are actually only tools used within the context of a relationship with the customer patient or client. It’s having that relationship that removes the encounter from a transaction to an experience. It’s that relationship that takes you, the deliverer, out of commodity status.

We see this in many places in our daily lives. Think of a fine restaurant you frequent, where you know the owner or the manager. They greet you, not in a canned way, but in a caring way, when they see you. You feel that they value your business. And that feeling improves the entire experience: the food even tastes better because of it.

Sure, they might smile at you when you walk into an Outback or an Olive Garden, but we all know that if they do, it’s because of company policy. That’s a transaction, not a relationship.

Go ahead, hone your professional skills. Hone them until they’re as sharp as a scalpel.

But don’t fool yourself into believing that even the sharpest skills are a substitute for a relationship.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that even the sharpest skills will prevent you from becoming a commodity.

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