How do you market yourself

How to market yourself as an expert

Just recently we showed you the opportunities of personal branding in an article. Now we want to go one step further and give you valuable tips on how to market yourself as an expert.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote "Everyone I meet is superior to me in some way." ("Every man I meet is my superior in some way")

In a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, Dorothy Leonard, Gavin Barton, and Michelle Barton talk about how You can turn yourself into an expert. The article fascinated me, especially with regard to the perspective on expertise and people who we think are superior to us and indispensable for a company.

The article introduces us to a species of professionals that we should be familiar with: the “deep smarts”. These are colleagues who, after years of experience, have developed business-critical expertise that helps them make wise and quick decisions, both strategically and tactically. You can work in sales, technology, risk management or as an operations specialist: You are always the first point of contact when it comes to specific specialist knowledge.

They are not so important because they can deal with given data and facts that are accessible to everyone, but because of completely different skills: the way of thinking, the decision-making behavior and paths that lead to success again and again.

How do you become a “Deep Smart” expert within your company? How do you market yourself as an expert?

Learn from the best by observing and applying closely. Get an idea of ​​how the experts work in your company and learn from them consciously. It is not about walking around as a walking copy of the person, but rather acquiring elements of knowledge and expertise.

“Deep Smarts” are unique because they are a product of their particular way of thinking, training and experience. But as with any kind of knowledge, there are elements here that make their behavior so valuable to a company and that can be determined. One of the most obvious challenges is to be able to understand on what basis the expert made a decision: Was it certain experiences? Or solutions that have proven themselves in the past? Usually it is a kind of manager muscle memory. And this is difficult to identify, let alone document and exercise.

The way to self-marketing as an expert

A process that bears the name OPPTY and is presented in the article helps us with this. OPPTY stands for "Observation, Practice, Partnering and joint problem solving, and Taking responsibilitY“ (in German: Observing, applying, working together and problem-solving together, taking responsibility). The authors describe it as an effective method to become a “deep smart” in a company.

1) Observe assumes that you always follow an expert at every turn in order to be able to analyze exactly what he or she is doing. Becoming an expert starts with deciding whose knowledge you want to adopt. Once you have chosen an expert, observe how he or she deals with different situations and people - regardless of whether it is body language, non-verbal cues, empathy or the way of communication.

2) Apply assumes that you identify those behaviors of the expert that you can implement yourself with the help of supervision and feedback. Make a plan with short-term and longer-term goals and steps on how to achieve them with certain deadlines.

3) Collaboration and collaborative problem solving means working closely with the expert to analyze and tackle challenges. Ask reflective questions like: What was the context of the situation? What did the expert do and why? How did I behave and what feedback did I get? What worked What didn't work? What do i do next?

Now write down all of your learning steps in a notebook. This gives you an overview of your progress and ensures that you have learned what you and your expert intended. It is also a clever way of evaluating your goals and redefining them if necessary.

4) When you are done, you can finally try to solve a situation on your own using the knowledge you have acquired over time. Take responsibility. Get feedback, maybe you will gain new knowledge and be recognized as like-minded by the other “Deep Smarts”.

In the past, people acquired their characteristics through training. Even now it is still the most effective and widespread learning method in a wide variety of areas such as culinary arts or crafts. So why shouldn't it be comparatively effective and efficient in today's modern professional world? Especially when it comes to promoting creative thinking and innovation in a company.

NOTE: This post is attached to the article "Make Yourself an Expert“Based on Dorothy Leonard, Gavin Barton and Michelle Barton. Here you will find the link to the original article for all those who would like to read it through. I would encourage you to do so, and I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.