Achieving Expert Status

Being called an expert is the greatest compliment any professional can receive. It’s the level we all strive to attain in some way, shape or form. It’s a short word, but those six letters convey much more than the sheer space they take up on a page. That singular word conveys years and years of hard work and dedication to our chosen skill or craft. It conveys a deliberate and tireless journey to achieve the best of the best. We all strive to be experts.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule. This book describes the phenomena of becoming an expert better than any other book or article I have read on the subject. Gladwell states that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. In his research, this was true of The Beatles, Bill Gates and many other wildly successful people in various fields.

Why then, do we ignore this concept in our profession? By and large, emerging leaders in professional services have reached their 10,000 hours in their area of expertise (e.g., tax, audit or consulting). They’ve spent countless seasons honing their craft and their billable hours reflect their intense training and focus in their specific area. They very well may be experts in their field. Why then, do so many young partners struggle to be successful in their firms?

Most accountants make partner and find themselves newly responsible for growth and management of a pipeline. While they have the expertise in their chosen technical area, more often than not, they have not had appropriate training in leadership and business development. They find themselves responsible for tasks outside of their comfort zones and feel as though they’re set up for failure.

Gone are the days of purely technical partners. The most successful and profitable firms have a culture of growth and hold all of their partners accountable for such growth. Bringing a new partner on without appropriate business development training is an avoidable mistake. Exposing your young people and emerging leaders to good, solid, proven soft-skill training early in their career sets your firm up for continued growth for many years to come.

In tandem with developing their technical skills, help your people achieve their 10,000 hours of practice development focus. It’s never too early to start building that culture in your firm and in your people.

Next Steps

If you need assistance in organizing or facilitating a growth-planning process for your firm or niche practice, please Contact Us to schedule a complimentary phone consultation. The Rainmaker Companies can help you Grow Your Firm, Grow Your Practice, or Grow Your Self.

Adelaide Ness – Executive Vice President of The Rainmaker Companies